Sunday, 18 April 2010

Shedding the ego and being honest.




Well I am back from a wonderful holiday with my family in North Devon where I collected various pictures and items that I found inspiring and that I will show and discuss later in another entry.

As a person who has always been creative in one way or another I have generally been dissatisfied with the paintings, sculptures or turnings that I have made to some degree. But why has this been the case?.

Making items that are purely aesthetic gives me an unrestricted scope within my work, and yet it can at times be all too restrictive unless I am honest with myself and the work that I am trying to make.

More often than not in western society we are mindful of how others perceive who and what we are. How we dress, the car we drive and the amount of money we earn at times can give us a false sense of security about our identity and the place we want to be/ In turn showing a false persona to others that we may or may not be trying to impress and therefore perhaps hiding our own insecurities.

I know that this has been true of myself in the past and probably to some extent still today. So if I am not mindful of the reasons behind where I am going with my work or if they are being made for honest reasons, how can I expect to be truly creative and expect others to receive my work as genuine.?

For me to be creative means more than just throwing together various materials into a strange shape, giving it a name and calling it art ( or what ever the label should be). It has to be more than this, it has to come from a genuine place, with no connection to any outside influences other than those that come from within me, from an honest place. By this I mean that if I am making, it should be based on "my" ideas and feelings and not altered to impress or show myself to be better than others, or altered to fit in, for the sake of satisfying my own ego.

To try to clarify a bit further my thought process, I will explain it as this.

When I started my journey in sculpting and then woodturning I was always looking for where the next hand full of money would come from. If the piece sold it must be good!! or was it.?

Did the fact that the piece sold mean that it was good or that I had been controlled by outside influences, in turn causing me to create the piece in a way thereby fitting into the likes and negating the dislikes of the buying public to achieve the goal of selling the work. ??

I began to think that if this is the case then what was the point of me bothering to make such work, as you can buy plenty of pretentious glitter items void of any depth in just about every high street shop that sells anything to do with the home.

There is a place for such items but this is not what I am about within my work and this was what I was starting to struggle with. I felt that I was just making for the sake of selling and not making something that was more honest and it then selling. For me there is a difference.

This did not sit comfortably with me so I started to look deeply into my own thought processes and the reason for the making of my work.

Many years ago I studied karate and then moved onto Aikido, shodo as well as Zen classes and other routes of contemplation through meditation etc. I still study some of these today as a way of continually challenging who I am as a person and the reason for doing what I do. One of the lessons that I recall is the "cutting of the self".

No this does not mean falling onto a sword and rendering yourself incapacitated. But the way I see it, is the cutting through the self/ego and revealing the true self. How after all can I come from a honest place as a maker of creative items if they are clouded by the ego or by outside influences that allow me to feel comfortable, by fitting in for the sake of it.

When I started making/turning I could not wait to turn a hollow form like all the others who had established themselves in the world of turning. Why was this the case?, was it to show I was as good, or to impress others, if so were my intentions coming from a good place??.

Do I need to impress, if so what makes me feel that I do/did ?.

Do I as a maker need others to validate what I do ?. If so am I allowing my ego to again cloud my reason for the creating of the item?. If this is the case is the work honest and as perfect as it could be?. Or is it in fact as perfect as I can get, just to conform with the others who tell me through their own ideas, that it is perfect/the way it should be?. If so am I genuinely creating at all,? or just churning out items to feel good and to feel that I fit in and have a safe identity.?

Before I can even try to make anything that is honest, I believe that as an individual these questions have to be answered before I can put any energy into what I do. To strip away the ego and shed it from who I am to understand the process of the creative path is as important to me as the end result. Or I believe I am doing nothing more than conforming to a pre set group of rules, set out by others who also have ego's and agenda's, so that I merely fit in and satisfy my ego and insecurities.

If as a maker of works that should come from within, do I really need to conform or impress others or to fit into a pre set box. ? I do not think so.!! Do I do this?, I hope not, but it all comes down to the here and now and being honest and mindful of what I am doing, where I want to be and how I go about achieving this.

Much for me to think about and churn over. Or does it matter at all. ?

The picture at the top is of an opportunist sculpture made while walking along the beech from drift wood.

2 comments:

martin said...
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martin said...

Hi Mark,

An interesting insight to your thought process which I can totally connect to. I am just learning to stop myself making something that I know others will like and venturing into a new approach of just doing it because my mind tells me to go that way and forgetting others likes and dislikes. If they like what I make great, if they don't well who cares because I now have a mindset that I certainly don't. I have only just discovered this process with a piece for the CWC group and how rewarding personally it is. I hope to develop this and with your blog it gives nothing but encouragement.

Cheers Martin Lawrence.