Every now and again the universe throws you situations and circumstances that reveal their true intentions later on. Hindsight really is the most accurate art. Over the last week or so I have had an insurgence of such energy. I was made to realise or rather be reminded that being a creative person is not something that we try to be but something we have honed and thus become. Although to an extent I do agree with Mataraso’s definition of an artist which is not someone any different or special from anyone else but rather a person who makes and creates art. In that sense, we are all artists and can be artists, never really born artists and I do believe that.
However, I do think that when you have been a certain way for so long there is no other way to be. Art or rather the creation and appreciation of it is merely creativity. I believe we all have a creative gene within us the same way we all have a pragmatic gene, a scientific gene, and a clumsy gene. Along the way, our circumstances and personal biases guided us to develop one gene more than the other. Being creative has always just been a way of thinking and seeing and thus being, becomes one with the act of creation. What is strange is when that bubble is broken by an individual who sees this world and theirs as different. But in fact, all these worlds co-exist in complete unison and it seems arbitrary to suggest otherwise.
Humans have created a world in which to survive we must be like the snake that eats itself. Ouroboros appears across many cultures and text, sometimes as a beginning and an end, sometimes as an epiphany that led to a breakthrough in the field of chemistry and most often as the balance. The balance, as the Ancient Egyptians say, was between the formless disorder that surrounds the orderly world. But in many ways modern society has created a gridlock system by which their citizens must essentially be self-sufficient at the cost of everything. We have lost our sense of balance, our moral responsibility within ourselves and most alarmingly our Passion.
Recently I went for an interview which essentially false advertised what the job was, vaguely describing it as a marketing and events coordinator. In my mind, running We Belong Here- a cross-arts bi-monthly event in Leeds, I had a very different idea of what an event meant. The initial interview, now looking back, seemed to play to any idea one had in your head without actually giving you something tangible to hold on to. Funnily I learned on my way the next day to Wakefield for the secondary observation interview, that this is why radio advertising works more efficiently than print or tv adverts as target audiences don’t have a clear visualized product. Thus they can imagine something more to their liking and preference which instills them to ultimately invest in the product and spend money they don’t have. What makes big conglomerate companies the big money, as I found out, are Human Billboards. Direct marketing strategies that exploit fairly young people to make these mammoth capitalist companies reliable, humanistic and trustworthy so that their bees can then exploit some more people. It would be pretty genius if it wasn’t so damn evil.
My first question was, “Well Danny, what do you do then when you are representing a corporate company whose values and morals don’t align with your ethical code as a human being? The answer- Ditch your ethics and morality and focus on the 100 people target that you must meet every day. Out of which 90 people will reject you and 10 will invest in your product. And that “Is a fact”, said Danny in robotic perfection.
I managed to survive 2 hours of soul-crushing observation when I realised something very integral to me both as an individual and an artist. I am a passionate person, who is committed to the things I do because of my passion. I also have a set of morals and values that I live my life by and choices made in opposition to them is not something I can stand by.
So I did the obvious thing, I walked out and found an art gallery and rejuvenated my soul for the next 6 hours looking at the Alan Davie exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield. There was a palpable sense of relief when I walked into a building instilled with creation and passion. I had made my way home.
There was a beautiful quote I read by Alan Davie that was serendipitous in its nature like the universe wanted to remind me yet again why we live and not just survive.
“Knowing that life is so strange and uncontrollable there is no way, and art is impossible, as impossible as living. And yet one lives and strange things happen and Art also happens, like falling in love.” (Davie,1953)
Why do we live lives if not to do the things that make us happy, at peace, content or whatever it is we are looking for? Isn’t it as simple as following every gut instinct, every intuition, every cell in your body that already knows this it is that you need from life? It upsets me when I see systems in place that make us conform. Education systems that deem whether a piece of work is ‘achieving’, ‘sort of achieving’ or ‘not achieving’. (True story) How can you possibly quantify expression into a right and wrong way of expressing and have the gumption to then impose that on to the young minds of 10-year-olds. We should all be allowed to dream, to create, to love and to live how we want.