Initial questions: What is art with purpose to you? Have you been able to still be engaged in art during this time?
I think to answer the initial question, I have to explore what art is to me.. as a consumer and creator. As a consumer, I ideally try to diversify the media, format, and style of art I bring into my world. In this way, art serves a tangible, productive purpose that should foster growth, and perhaps greater success in my own art installations.
I should frame that first paragraph as a perfect summary of how I feel I should feel and interact with art. The truth is, I’ve questioned how I interact with art on a consumer level more so now than any other point in my life. I’ve questioned the premise of transactional art–how I view art in such a way that I need or expect to receive something–anything–rather than allowing myself to react and reflect in a natural manner.
Let me explore these feelings with you all: at my core I know I SHOULD discover, dig deep, and vary the art that crosses my plate. I know exposing myself to more SHOULD give me tools to use in my own creation. For example, I SHOULD watch any and every live musical broadcasting to gain more performance perspective in a potential musical career. In reality, I don’t make the time for this. And why? Does it not serve an actual and beneficial purpose to a future career? Does it not grant me a space to reflect and think on perspectives through the art of storytelling? Yes, clearly, it does or it very easily could. These musical broadcasts have intrinsic, studious purposes rooted in them. However, is that what drives me as a consumer or a creator? Not necessarily.
Something I’m coming back to, finally, is the concept of joy in art specifically. In my day to day life, I hold and invest my joy in friendships, social times, gaming, food, leisure, etc. but I’ve lost some joy in art. Reflecting back, I don’t know where that initially started. It possibly stems from the lack of making art, or in my mind making “good” art. But, even just at the consumer level, I’ve lost joy. Truly, some of the only art I make a joyous space for is music and RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’m currently exploring and reflecting on how I became so limited in my consumption as to prevent it in the future. But, I think the more important path to take is the one of rediscovery. What art brings me joy? What art makes me feel playful? What art makes me feel? I’m at this point of child like rediscovery. I want to spark wonder and interest again in just my consumption rather than holding certain expectations of how or what I consume.
I started this part of my journey by beginning The Artist’s Way. Recommended by a close friend, I started reading this within a couple months of the Pandemic kicking in. And, almost predictably so, lost interest within a couple months. I of course attribute this to my own personal fault–I’m a lazy, rusty, unmotivated, boring, uninspired, run of the mill artist who can’t even maintain focus to help himself in a career he supposedly wants stability in. This voice is talked about frequently in The Artist’s Way–your toxic inner dialogue that somehow convinces you you’re not worthy in any way, and that failure is absolute. This voice, specifically within the realm of consuming and creating art, proves to be a constant struggle in my life, exasperated by the lack of social outlets in the past year.
To be continued..
Noel Houle von Behren.