Archives for posts with tag: Inspiration

When I first started this blog, I specifically wanted to write about my journey through the art market, offering insight into the state of affairs and how to navigate through what is truly a complicated and oftentimes bewildering industry, where the cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top. Though, I’ll readily admit that my endeavor to expound on such a topic was not only ambitious, but also overly optimistic, considering how little experience I had in navigating any market on my own, then. And even now, almost six years later, I am still only beginning to make sense of how I fit into that puzzle and how I want to maneuver through it.

So, perhaps more important than my perspective (having officially changed the title of this blog from “Through My Eyes” to “Rapt”), is the fact that I simply Love what I do. It’s the only reason why I’m still in the game and still riding this crazy roller-coaster of a life; because there is nothing easy or glamorous about the hard fight, especially when so many victories are won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile (for any normal person).

That’s not to say that my efforts are wasted, but that the ultimate reward is an elusive one that only a few will ever truly secure. Many are called, it seems. But only a few are chosen. So, in this business, if your heart and mind aren’t perfectly aligned and ready to brush off disappointment (for the sake of pursuing your passion), don’t quit your day job. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Mine was always a Labor of Love, since childhood. And I’ve never compromised my vision for the sake of accolades or the easy paycheck. That might make my job a little more difficult at times. But it also makes each new triumph, along the way, much more fulfilling.

I remember my dad telling me, even before I decided to embark on my creative journey, “Always do your work as if you’re going to sign it.” And, although that might sound like the voice of perfectionism to some, it resonated with me, despite only now fully comprehending the significance of that statement, as someone living the life of an artist. Doing my work as if I’m going to sign it has not only held me accountable for my own shortcomings, without deflecting blame elsewhere, but it also creates the opportunity for all my actions to fully express who I am (beyond mere words). I don’t want to tell someone that I am this or that, or some variation. I want them to know it by the way I conduct myself, every day.

So, I still ultimately hope to chart a useful path for other artists to adopt and modify as a loose guide. But, until that accomplishment is capable of speaking for itself, there is no reason for me to assume the role of the teacher. I will continue to report on any advancements in my position (up the ladder, of course). But I’ve decided to slightly shift the direction of this blog, to simply share the enjoyment of the journey with you, and to find better ways of helping you stay inspired on yours as well. So, as of today, this blog is no longer a window into the market, “Through My Eyes”, but an expression of what I am: “Rapt”, and Ready to continue my work.


Silent Scream

When a creative dry-spell becomes a drought, I sometimes have to reach beyond the image to recover the fire. I sometimes have to delve into the clutter of a collective creative consciousness, into the minds of artists who inspire me, to find a flicker of my own creative light.

There, in uninhabited space, outside the boundaries of our supposed 10%, we are all relatives. And, as I navigate through clusters of coruscated thought, which appear like stars within a galaxy, it is often the whisper of a word, printed on quiet paper, that resonates. It is often a whisper… that rekindles the flame.

I hear you… You, whom I would also call myself. And I am moved.

The winds of change have begun to blow, moving through and around me in such a way that expresses who You are, You who are discernible and always present like the deep seeded vibration that awakens and animates one’s dreams, the quiet though resonant Om discovered in sustained meditation, the Vitality that must be recovered from misconception (each in our own tongues) so that You may be planted, nurtured, and harvested as Fruit. We have walked together, side  by side, for so long that I have not known a Life without You. Therefore… amid this change, amid the metamorphosis of my consciousness and the transformation of Life as I know It, I seek to discover You completely and in every capacity (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and in all periphery) so that we may (together) express the beauty of our union, the Poetry of that Promise which belongs to everyone!

~ Feeling Lifted

I came home last night to the inviting fragrance of freshly bathed flowers in full-bloom. And I couldn’t help but smile, both inwardly and out. Every year, spring permeates the air with its perfume as a reminder of this world’s unfailing tenderness, despite the harsh realities that accompany the consciously living. Springtime is Earth’s velvet touch, like a lover who ignites all the senses, which in turn stimulates the spirit. She is a fervent beating heart that feeds all our extremes and everything in-between. Or at least that’s the way I came to see her at such a late hour, when the city was drunk and drenched. I paused in gratitude to ingest another deep breath, eyes shut so that I could see the same tranquil view of everything my heart sees, a gentle panorama of life below the surface, where a constant and brutal awakening settles into calm decisive action.

Was it a dream? I don’t know. But, I slept soundly. And I remember it well.

I took a trip down memory lane today, visiting the Frank Frazetta Gallery in downtown Austin. Although not a direct influence in my personal work, I am deeply rooted in Frazetta’s realm of fantasy. It is a world of savagery and romance that is primordial, yet somehow timeless in essence, as it echoes a presumably suppressed primitive nature.

Nothing compares to seeing the originals, of course. So laying eyes on such beautifully preserved canvases was a real treat. I was always fascinated by Frazetta’s loose brush style, which truly accentuates movement in the images and is visceral in nature, but to see the nuances in color, which hardly translate in print, was breathtaking. In Frank’s world, a world where violence prevails… Darkness is the villain. And darkness is subdued, not only by the warrior subject (who embodies the human spirit), but also, by Frazetta’s color palette, which is organic, rich, and poetic.

~ Check it out!!

If you previously missed the opportunity, here is the Matisse interview I’m referencing now for the second time.

I had to touch on the subject of “Suffering” that was discussed in part two of the interview, because I share Matisse’s sentiments and combative attitude toward a generally accepted view of what art is. But more important, despite the overwhelming risk and sacrifices involved and the stigmas associated with pursuing a career in art, I am quite grateful that a filtering process of privation and perseverance exists, to sift through and separate the “Sunday painters,” as Matisse calls them, from practiced craftsmen who are inherently driven to create, oftentimes by a force or Will not entirely their own. That’s not to say that the “Sunday painter” is incapable of creating great art, but simply, that dabbling doesn’t make one an artist.

My predilection, as an example, is a love/hate relationship that I ultimately had to come to terms with, accept, and consciously embrace as an intrinsic attribute that has shaped my life. It is as necessary as eating and sleeping for me, not necessarily a passion as many would like to believe. We are inseparable, my brushes and I. So it can seem unfair when popular opinion permits anyone who wields a brush or pencil or who models a piece of clay to be considered “an Artist”, whether such urges are entertained on a whim, out of boredom, or serious interest. That sort of general acceptance erodes the arena of fine art by cluttering and confusing the marketplace in a way that no other profession really has to indulge. It’s the equivalent of saying that just because I wrote mommy a letter, I’m now a writer, or, because I have an opinion about the state of our economy, I’m suddenly an expert economist, or that nursing my own minor injuries qualifies me as a doctor; so on, and so forth. In no other field do such unsubstantial efforts constitute “authority”, except in art. So I agree with Matisse wholeheartedly when, concerning art students, he says, “They should be given a volley of blows with a stick and led back home,” because then we’d know with absolute certainty which of them have any real conviction.

But my stance on the subject is entirely a passive aggressive one, purely steam (as we come full-circle), because the truth of the matter is that without a muddled art-scene… the struggle that informs and fuels my creative energy may also not exist. “It is necessary that there be a straining. It is necessary that life be hard…” Matisse declares. And one may have to be an artist to truly appreciate what that means.

I’ve experienced, first hand, the subduing effects of being well fed, and it’s not as productive as one would think. In fact, my hunger (both literally and figuratively) is the very source of my contradiction in this discussion, but also, what allows me to brush off the mild annoyances without insult or injury. Although I won’t go so far as to say that starving is necessary to create, a stimulus of some kind is, and starving just happens to be mine. It is a driving force, to EARN my place (among the stars – because if I must dream, I dream big), perhaps even an aspect of my ingrained work ethic that is defined by the desire to be exceptional at whatever I do (so as to make the task worth doing). As a consequence, however, I tend to experience an oppressive heaviness, a stifling lethargy when satiated, almost as if contentment extinguishes my desire to strive for “more.” Maybe that’s a healthy attitude. And maybe it’s not. It’s an eccentricity I barely understand and can only attempt to explain as a conflict between a physical Self, my human element, and the Spirit, which seeks transcendence, inasmuch as the conflict has become a recurring theme in my work. Despite the fact that the body houses the Spirit, there is no denying that these dueling aspects require contrasting stimuli in order to function, flourish, and mature. And the very question of which to indulge has become a decision I face almost every day. I have to ask myself, “Do I want to feed my body, or feed my Spirit?”

More often than not… I willingly choose the Spirit.

As I begin to understand my own journey through the wilderness of Life, presently seeing steps and passageways instead of obstacles, I’m also discovering how to breathe. And because I want to experience, I walk through my day, taking time, not only to smell the roses, but also, to consume its flesh with every faculty I possess, to perceive and preserve its essence, intact. We become an ingested whole in that encounter, its meaning revealed in our shared intonation when, in that very moment, I become its velvet petals, expressing Life’s own lust and longing to be devoured… so it can bloom again.

I traverse each day as if it were an unending dream, undaunted now by the threat of disappointment. And I inhabit a Will that wants to savor the myriad nuance of feeling, infinite in interpretation and portrayal, assuming the vast implication offered in every second seized, where a message is conveyed and stretched across relentless fathoms both deep and dark; expressing light; expressing Life, which is The Light. It says, “We are free, and self-determining.”

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