Jul 15, 2010


I'm in a bit of a box. This is something I'm usually comfortable with.

But every now and then, I'll feel the irrepressible urge to exit this box, go outside it, see beyond it and be and do ALL that I am capable of doing. To be limitless, to be truly free, and express as honestly as humanly possible!

But each time I drag myself kicking and screaming out of it, after a novelty or two, I'll find myself crawling back into the comfort zone tail squarely between legs. Yes newness is all good but I have oldness to be getting on with... there's things people expect of me, have grown accustomed to seeing from me, and I don't want to disappoint them. I don't want to lose the warmth of their appreciation and sit there, all alone; just me, a pen and the endless abyss. I want eyes, you know, anyone that creates anything does. You do it because you can't help it, because you need to; but also because you want to be understood when every other medium of communication fails you. And because you want to be loved for what you do, of course.

And so before I know it, I'm once again locked in to these old ways. On the good days I am warm in the knowledge that I know exactly what I am doing, I bask in the adoration of people to whose faces I can bring a smile or a tear, I am confident that I know that little bit more, that my taste is that little bit more refined, and can undercut my rivals. But on the bad days I can hardly recognise myself for all the rules holding me in place. I can see myself pandering to something that I know is half unreal, a construct of the logic of my twisted preemption of what the world seems to want out of me. Yet I pander away, until all confidence and will to do anything at ALL leaves me paralysed.

Well, that's alright, we all have bad days, right?

But the problem is, egoist that I am, I KNOW I can do more, and do it better. I know in theory I should be capable of a lot of different things, and the only thing REALLY holding me back is the time and effort that I need to give these things. Time and Effort being prioritised towards activities that earn me recognition and love enough to keep trying every day. So while doing what I do, this bitterness permeates me. After hours and hours of work I refuse to own up to my own produce, and though so many wonderful people have given me so much of their love and their time and their respect I take it in my stead and I want constantly more, because I am dissatisfied, because I'm not being all that I COULD be if those rules catering to them weren't holding me back.

And this is unfair, to all those wonderful people, to my work, to my efforts, to the fields in which I wish to excel, to my ambitions most of all. Torn between the known that imprisons me and the unknown in which I fear to abandon myself, between a comfortable niche to the left of trendy and the risks in trusting an inner vision, I find myself divided to cater to each bracket of output. They are mutually exclusive and separate, or I make them that way, because in any one bracket I see every other type of endeavour as irrelevant and unapplicable. I can't draw for a design project; I can't paint the way I draw, I can't write lyrically anywhere within my design briefs, and I can't then bring what I learn behind a shutter to my sketchpad.

And so long as I keep these skills secret from each other and separate as possible, so that within the context of Design I can be JUST a Designer, and within the context of illustration I can be JUST an Illustrator and so forth, I'll always be uncomfortable because no single one of those REALLY encompasses everything. In each one I always feel a little like I'm lying, like this thing can't REALLY say everything I have to say. Like the me that I'm portraying is edited to fit the context of its presentation, at the expense of true honesty. And like I'm losing, and failing myself, by not giving my all because there's only a fraction of me left to give.

Which means, really, that I divide my skill up and stretch myself across different things. Where I really SHOULD be bringing it all together, embracing all of it and with the power of each of these disparate skill sets and aesthetics, should be making something new and wonderful that encompasses EVERYTHING.

If I were able to do this, what I make would be a sum of all parts, and completely honest to me and what I can do. It would be a more honest expression, a more cathartic expression to cover point one. For point two, it would be a truer communication, a conversation that didn't involve this self-conscious habit of mine of pre-editing output to match the perceived audience, of pre-empting as much as possible what could be implied about ME out of my work. I have enough confidence in each of my developed strengths, but to bring together to really speak... just how far could that take me?

And for the last point, well, audiences come and go and to be loved for a truly HONEST expression would surely fill me with nothing but honest gratefulness. And if there's one shortcut to happiness, it's to feel grateful for and amazed by everything around you.


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