“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” (Curie)
I feel the drift these days. Friends, once true and close, distanced. Family disconnected with the artist that I’ve become, unaware and unsure of who I am becoming as a human or other. I feel outside of society, outside of the circles that root me as human. The past is a story mined for content; the present is an earthquake plain with constant eruptions and fault chasms; the future, a fog without shore or visible sun.
Years ago, I set out to become the best artist that I could, the best artist that I have ever known or seen. I wanted to move people. To be an inspiration. To power my own evolution. To prove that artistic action is better than flowery language and pomposity and superfluously. Artist became the reprogramming that I needed to heal, to find my path and voice and confidence. I was gifted Art upon birth, even though the skills and talent and identity has varied in focus over my existence.
Time continues to retool my artistic machine, tweak the engine based on failures in the human mechanics. Even now, my voice and style and approach continue to change based on the scars and the screams.
The ironic result of finding path and voice is that it pushes you further away from people. The louder you talk, the less people listen. The more you create, the less interested they become. The more you evolve, the less perfect and present you are to society. At a certain point, the artist is taken for granted, and only judged by what he/she can provide to an individual, and whether or not the voice is in line with personal belief.
I really have heard it all over the last seven years of being an artist. The praise. The excuses. The claims of false support. To commit to being an artist in act of selfishness, so I am no different than anyone else. Time and energy fall back to what is my core focus. In the end, the passion of people around my product and practice is not something I can control. No matter how much I push engagement, partner with people, make friends, lose friends and make enemies, connect, collaborate, co-dream, and drive this red-lined cycle toward an unsure destination, I wonder if my gift is really worth it.
Is it worth the loneliness?
Is it worth the abandonment?
Is it worth the desolation?
Is it worth the long walks alone in contemplation?
Is it worth the struggle,
the turbulent faith that people have in my art,
my inability to find and hold onto advocates for Artemis Sere,
the inconsistent interest of people toward my creation,
a brimming ambivalence toward
who I am
what I stand for
the gift that I offer to this broken race.
Perseverance is a “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” Where does perseverance come from when you stand alone, when you have no mythology to give you structure and help your balance, when you have no confidants or consultants or caregivers, and when you have no shelter against the union of storms that deluge your life?
How do you maintain the value of your gift in the face of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement? If your gift is too heavy or caustic or costly for the human race, should you cling to it?
Fundamentally, every artist is a human. Every artist sacrifices his or her resources and life to call a voice, chase a vision, change culture, make a statement. An artist could sacrifice his/her whole life for the dire craft, and never move the needle, affect another life or be remembered. Time is not returned at the end of the process for an artist. All that remains at the end of an artist’s life is his or her creations, and the legacy of wisdom and willpower he/she leaves for the world, a story left to be assembled through a lifetime of pieces of paper, canvas and pixel, swallowed quickly by the vast sands of time. For many artists these days, immortality exists as an entry in Quoteland, or Wikipedia, or captured in Memes that crisscross our Gorilla glass.
Do we persevere, only to be forgotten or replaced by a mythology of ourselves? Does an artist even really exist as a human these days?
The Artist is the last defense against the artificial intelligence wave, where we compromise our core for a longer physical timeline and a buffered existence. Creativity is the final frontier, beyond the edges of the expanding desert of ignorance and blended and bound human intelligence. This fight for confidence and voice is one that has been repeated by artists throughout time, but as the human condition changes, as intelligence becomes byted and our society changes with the digitization of humanity, the drive to rise above seems necessary, vital and important,
now, more than ever.