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Be A Volcano - An Editorial
July 19, 2012
I haven’t had much time to add anything to this site as of late, on account of being too busy doing things to spend time talking about things. However, I did have an interesting chat with a fairly successful painter the other day. He was mostly into doing plein air paintings of people at the beach. But he was an encouraging sort of artist, wanting to talk about everything. He asked me about the kind of work I was doing, and I mentioned that while I do some expressionistic paintings here and there, I also write and work in film. He nodded, showing that he understood only too well. He said that when he was younger, he lived a similar lifestyle. He would paint, but also wrote, was into photography, and so on. But when he finally received recognition for his paintings, that’s when things finally clicked. To paraphrase:
“To find success as an artist, you have to be like a volcano. When a volcano, (or artist in this case) is forming, at first, there will be little spurts and offshoots of steam and energy, a little bit here, a little bit there, trying different things, getting that energy out into the world in any way you can. That is until you finally find that one thing that works, that sticks. That’s when the volcano finally erupts, and all that lava that’s been building up inside of you comes pouring out.”
To pontificate… It’s tough trying to get recognition as an artist, partly because that sentence sounds so damn pretentious. But mostly because the work you do isn’t viewed as work to other people, until that incredible moment when it becomes good enough that someone puts a price tag next to it. Until then, it’s a hobby. And most artistic people have lots of hobbies. Too many, probably. But it’s that moment that something finally clicks, and all that pent up energy that up until now has been spouting off in different directions can finally focus into something tangible and worthwhile…that’s the moment you reach for.
Not to say you try and sell out. But you try and create work that resonates. You want to create a dialog between the creator and the viewer. You want to impact people. You want to show people something they’ve never seen, but when they see it, they still see truth in it, even if it’s difficult or challenging. It’s the moment when someone you’ve never met can look at something you’ve created, and say, “I understand.” When that happens, all those nights where you were struggling to find that voice and create something that speaks on its own, where you didn’t know how you wanted to say it or even sure of what you wanted to say, when you felt that ball of energy stuck inside you that you couldn’t quite figure out the best way to release and were afraid that if it didn’t get out, it would crumble and decay, when it’s finally out there and that connection between the creation and the observer is at its strongest, that’s when the pressure that’s been building up inside of you is finally released. That joy of connection is tantamount to a volcano erupting. The violence of it, the demanding nature of it, the immediacy of it, it is an act of creation….
…feels good man.
Today is well past the first day of the rest of your life.