The Pursuit of Ambiguity
You know... those targets with a chewy center and the flavor you just can't place.
“Structural integrity is necessary for existential longevity”, 2014, 8”.5x11”, digital. Image for an as-of-yet unreleased zine project.
This is what I’m thinking about today - in regards to knowing what my creative life is about. Or for. Or something.
When you stop consistently making work, your creativity can easily slip into artifice. It becomes your profile bio (did you see mine?! pfft), or the way you position yourself in conversations. It could become an epitaph on your headstone. For now it's just a text-based version of an old hoodie from college that you keep trying to pull off but your partner is like “seriously you can’t wear that anymore who even are you right now!?”
Others have said this, but to re-establish the point - being an artist is an act. An ongoing process. If it's not happening, then it has only happened. Like that time you ran the last ten yards and went to state. It’s gross. Just like that sports analogy.
Don’t be like that sports analogy.
One has to decide what being the artist is for and why it’s important. Making art (or whatever you create and put into the world for yourself) is only like "breathing" if you are in the act of doing it. But when it's dropped out of your life... what does that hoodie look like now?
To be effective in my art practice, I need that 10,000 foot gut-check from time to time. I need to recognize in myself that I have a need for some certainty in my actions - a habit. And to maintain this, I need clarity of awareness. An answer as to why I'm doing it in order to be consistent in my pursuit of ambiguity.
Which is what an art practice really is, after all. One makes work because you don’t know or fully understand a thing. Knowing the whys and hows comes after and in-between.
Understanding why you work can bring a new level of confidence and consistency to what you do. Especially in the dark ages of content-for-likes, and conceptual-less beauty-for-tiny-devices that may not actually scale well into the meat-space. You can look at my art on your phone from your toilet if you want. But just know that there is real purpose in what drove it into existence.
Riddle me this: How do you keep a grip on the purpose of your work?