Rice Freeman-Zachary wrote a post here about “wild messy creatives.” I felt she’d hit the nail on the head. You don’t have to be wild and messy to be creative. Quite the opposite, you can be a neat and tidy creative. In fact, other than the disaster that my studio tends to accumulate, and it is accumulation as it’s a bit of a dumping ground and storage facility. I usually work in our office. My work area has an assortment of piles of stuff but my easel, brushes and actual WORK area is not wild and mess. It’s not neat and tidy but I’m finding that the neater it is the easier it is to work. Later this week my plan is to go down into my actual studio and finish the job I started in July and finish the organization I started.
Then I have to wonder about the wild aspect of her post. I have never worn a tutu, nor do I ever plan to. I *HAVE* streaked campus when I was 19 and drunk on vodka with a friend. I *have* woken up in strange places, where it takes a second or 2 to figure out where the hell I was. I’ve ridden a mountain bike down steep inclines. I’ve ridden ATVs at breakneck speeds through the woods. I’ve driven 125mph on the highway and buried the needle on twisting backwoods country roads. I’ve done some stupid shit but I’d never take it back or ask for a do over, okay, well maybe my Krazy Ex and that stupid marine* I dated in college, but frankly all those wild good times I’ve had have shaped who I am today. I won’t apologize for that and to those I’ve owed an apology to, I’ve found them and said I’m sorry, and in some cases it took 11 years but I did it. (J, I’m lookin’ at you.) You know what, without the Krazy Ex in there I’d still be a flirtatious** jerk, so no I won’t take that back, heartbreak is a cure for some things and it certainly cured my tendency to be a douchebag.
Those years when I was a jackass were some of the most artistically frustrating of my life. Moving around a lot doesn’t allow for creativity, at least not for me. Living in a crummy room in the ghetto is not artistically enlightening. Working a shitty job trying to pay my bills caused me stress and stress kills my creativity. I remember restless nights spent staring at paper, creating boring tired art, lame shit I’d never show to anyone.
The only thing those crazy post college times gave me was my first art journal. The angsty grist of my life recorded, my heartbreak scrawled with ball point on dismal paper and the detritus of my life taped, glue sticked and rubber cemented to the pages. The work is neither inspired nor is it very good, but it’s the crap that came from that life. Creating that kind of stuff is what progressed me into creating art in a journal format. Someday I’ll show you those first journals that combined the art and life but for now, the memories are still close and painful and thus better in the journal tied shut.
Now that I’m older and settled down and more at peace with WHO I really am I am the most creative I have ever been. I look at my old life and wish I’d found this calm sooner. I know that without that wild kid I was I’d not be who I am today. It shaped me, occasionally you see that wild streak but mostly I’m boring, rock solid, stable Less.
*I’m still a flirt but there is an understanding that it won’t go anywhere. I might not have a ring on my finger but nearly 10 years, 2 dogs and a house is certainly commitment.
**Yes, I said marine. He was an idiot. Yes I said HE. Get over it. It didn’t last long.