I do this to transform the world. That’s a grandiose and very unhumble notion but I don’t do it to be grand. I believe there is a lack of empathy and depth in our experience. We lack a deep understanding of how vulnerable we all are and how much we need to share the depths of our sadness and our humanity. Only in that realization can we attain our best realization of this precious life we are given.
The creative arts are how we find that fundamental truth of who we are, through all the layers. I think it’s originally found in yoga, the concept of the glass onion as a metaphor for our experience. Each layer is transparent and when we look at only one layer, we think we see clearly. Yet, when you put all the layers together, the cumulative effect of one slightly distorting layer on another eventually distorts our perception to the point where we can’t really see the real world at all.
Through creativity, we open ourselves up to truths that are inaccessible to our “rational” minds, as the creative realm accesses parts of us that the logical part, the pre-frontal cortexian part, doesn’t have a connection with. Well, the connection is there but we don’t have the words for it. There are experiences that go on within and without us for which there are no words and no rational explanation. One of my heroes, Paul Klee, said it well, “Don't talk painter, paint.” But yet, we, as artists, continue to talk about our art. Words, combined with rationality, are wonderful and they do wonderful things but the best they can do is to point our consciousness in the direction of what’s going on, creatively.
Creativity comes from a time and place far removed from our contemporary lives. Some ancient traditions think that the fundamental force responsible for the manifestation of the known universe is the ineffable but undeniable force of creativity. Before that, there was nothing. From that, came everything.
So, I don’t do this as a way to provide self-therapy, though the process reveals the deepest and most troubling parts of my experience. I do this as a way to be a better human, taking two roles, both the “me” that I call myself and “me” as a humble member of a broad and diverse community of beings. Each of us has been given gifts to offer each other to make our lives richer and more responsive to the ultimate needs that surround us. The gifts given to me allow me to make work that engages and challenges people to deal with aspects of experience through a viewport that I can open. At this point in my life, after the labors of conventional career and family have evolved, I find I’m driven by the call of a muse that demands I do my best to realize a vision that, apparently, few can offer.
From what I know about the world of art and creativity, what I have to offer is something unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When I work on it, sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes me giggle with delight at my cleverness. In the end, it’s something that’s unique and I’m doing my best to make it change lives, as delusional as that may sound.