It’s been a strange few weeks. So much activity. See, when you’re self employed and you feel unwell or you’re injured there is very little you can do but carry on. Keep going. After a while it becomes second nature and an automatic way of life, and when shit hits the fan it’s common to just bury your head in the sand and hope you come out the other end ok, blissfully disregarding the oncoming train.
What happened last week? Alot of you know that I was supposed to be painting live at the Hope & Glory event in Liverpool. Yes, the one that hit the news. Why wasn’t I there? Truthfully – the organiser abandoned me on the day at the venue. Having spoken to him on the phone as I arrived telling him where I was stood, he was allegedly ‘doing a bank transfer and would be down in 2 minutes’. The 2 minutes turned into 2 hours. I had no stand and no idea what was going on, other than I was on the receiving end of a variety of pitying looks from the production staff and other stall holders. I gave up and went home. I bet you’re thinking ‘WTF’. I did at one point, which turned to anger, then upset, a quick trip down pity street and then disbelief and then I settled at nothing. I felt NOTHING. Not even suprise crept in to say hello, I had been here before. Treated like a second thought by other people who’s intent was making money from me. I’ll point out here I was working for FREE and had forked out on fuel, ink, canvass and importantly my time to attend, and research. Their ‘charity’ would profit from the art I would produce. I felt NOTHING, here I was just carrying on like it was normal.
I have that many tabs open in my mind at any one time that it’s highly probable that I’ve become immune to all the big stuff and related emotions that are supposed to bring stress and instead get consumed by all the irrelevant daily crap that most let fly. All these open tabs – artist, teacher, parent, mother, friend, wife, home, health, hobbies, bills, business, pets (you get the picture) then sub tabs – projects, events, diary, travel, supplies, research…. as 1 close another 4 open. The art tabs alone have 20 million sub tabs – will they like it? Why? Can I change this? How? Why? When? Who? What? But…oh but look… uh that’s awful… new idea! Bad idea… maybe… I’ll just ask… can I? Will I? Would they? Day in day out without fail these tabs remain open and don’t get closed. Creatives are expected to have their mind switched on all the time, we are supposed to know upon being given a brief or subject what to do. Not always the case, we can refer back to a tab we’ve never closed and hope we can refresh the screen, or, turn it down if we just can’t open fresh new tabs anymore. Cue overwhelm. In truth this event began the ‘caterpillar of doom’ on my internal screen (you know, the circle you seen when nothing is loading?) I couldn’t take anything on-board. Considering I’d just had a weeks holiday my head was blank for all the wrong reasons. I have a book bursting full of ideas which suddenly meant zero, they were just words. Picking up my paintbrushes and my head just didn’t engage with my hand. Oh dear, now this was the waving of the white flag.
I’m very aware of whats likely to happen next if I carry on in this way, trying to carry on avoiding the oncoming train. The biggest positive here being that I have identified it and can act on it. Because I am so emotionally engaged to the subjects I paint, my instincts kicked in shouting and screaming that it’s time to put on the brakes and close some tabs. Let’s be logical and turn down some noise. I’ve taken some steps to close off alot of tabs that may shock and surprise some people, others not so much, but they are nessesity and not choice. I DO however have the choice to make the difference now before it’s too late.
A creative’s mind is a complex one. We can be excessive, expressive, loud, … but we are mostly incredibly insecure and basic. Not that we’d admit it regular and bruise our egos or show the world that our talent actually hurts us sometimes. We don’t deserve the abuse from others or do we deserve to abuse ourselves for that matter.
Selfish as this may sound I am focusing on myself and 1 goal from now on . I won’t be a cog in anyone else’s clockwork.
Time to ride that oncoming train!