Sharing the process behinds the scenes…
On a day to day, and moment to moment basis, I live what it means to be ‘me’, Veronique Maria, a gay woman, artist, devoted mother and grandmother, Buddhist and lover of life. I do this simply because that is ‘me’.
But as I get older and turn towards becoming sixty, and face my own mortality in a new way, I find myself taking yet another serious look at my art practice and asking ‘Is it enough to simply live my experience of myself in this way? Is it ok for me to live all of that and then translate and transform my life experience into ‘showable’ and ‘presentable’ art work?’
‘Is that really ok with me?
‘Am I doing enough in the world? Am I making enough difference, simply by being connected fully to my passion and purpose and sharing that with others through my art?’
What else needs to be said and done?
I find it important to ask myself is ‘Are the things I am trading my life for, worthy of my life?’ ‘Am I fully aligned and making the work I was born to do?’
Interestingly, a similar sort of seriously intense re-evalation of my art practice happened as I approached aged 50 and 40 too, but of course I am always re-evaluating my art practice each and every day too. I always evaluate my work and my life in an attempt to keep fully on track.
Life is so very precious, a treasure to be taken very seriously in my opinion, but something is different about this questioning I am doing right now. Something is moving and something is shifting in a new way. I don’t completely understand it yet, maybe I never will, but what I do know is that I feel excited, (and I have to admit, extremely nervous too) about what I am about to share with you.
The thing is, I am about to make move further into the RAW.
I know I could just wait another decade to make this move, or never bother to do it at all, and to be honest it would be relatively easy to avoid the situation completely, but that’s why I therefore want to, and need to, declare this to you now – that from now on, intend to share much more of myself with you…. to be much more raw.
Ok, so that may not seem like a particularity big statement right now, but hang on in there with me and I will explain.
There has always been loads of creative work that I do which supports my art practice – the sort of creative expression that I would call ‘the work behind the scenes’. Much of this I never show publicly. I use this kind of work as a starting point, and to inform my ‘other’ more polished and showable work that I let go out into the world. But why do I do this? Why wouldn’t I show you everything? Why wouldn’t I?!
The work I have traditionally kept more to myself has often tended to be live art, performance for camera, most written work (poetry, and mixed genre writing for example) and experimenting with materials and sound, but it can also be drawing, painting and sculpture that are processes I never show you. So why, (up until now) haven’t I shared and shown that work? What would it be like to be completely exposed and vulnerable with you?
It seems that (for the most part) I’ve been ok with keeping my ‘naked’ sort of work to myself.
My creative work that I put out into the world has always been incredibly personal. From the time I wrote my first poems about love, passion and grief inspired by my feelings for my girlfriend when we were at boarding school when we were aged 14-16.
I have always been expressing myself in this personal way but maybe her homophobic plea to me, to keep our love a secret, and my loyalty to her held me back at first. I was loyal to her wish to never be named but after a while I realised my loyalty to her meant disloyalty to myself. It’s a difficult line to tread but I always kept her privacy.
And then later down the line maybe I had some kind of mindset around ‘the artist’s job’ being to make work that talks to the ‘collective’, to the ‘people’, and that to be so revealing of that which is deeply intimate and personal would be taking away from the ‘other’.
There are other reasons for my ambiguity and abstraction too. I have been holding back so as not to impact others. Not to hurt or expose the people that I love.
But now things have to change just a little. I find I have to re-examine my feelings about all that now. I believe that by sharing ‘me’ I offer a gift to you. How can I share me without sharing them?
I know some people think what I already reveal through my art is extremely passionate, brave and expressive, and they admire what I am willing to share of my personal life in the way that I do, but it’s simply not enough for me anymore.
I’ve been concealing the depth of my truth by skirting around the surface and now want to reveal much more of the personal me, in my raw, overt and undeniable state.
I want to stop censoring, judging, controlling and deciding. Of course I will still do those things as my output and productivity is enormous, so there will have to be some sort of editing and choice going on, but I want to make sure I make, reveal and share ‘a raw expression of an intimate connection’ with you. The raw expression of my intimate connection with my self, with my creativity, with my life and with my love.
I have a wonderful new PA who arrived in my office yesterday. In the process of familiarising her with an over view of my 40+ years of creative output as an artist, I realised that I want to come out and show my work in this raw and overt way in the direct and explicit context of love.
Yes, there will still be finished consumable products in my practice, it’s not all about the raw, but the other side of my practice, or maybe I should call it the centre, or praxis, that which is the core of me….that is what needs to come now.
So I’ve been thinking about how to reveal myself more…..
A public talk, a book, extracts from my journals….
NB After further consideration some highly personal journal extracts have been removed from this post. It’s a fine line…….