Some things I can't wrap my brain around. I find it hard, for example, to imagine people wanting to pay money to see/hear me perform music and songs – especially songs and music I create. The very idea of me singing in front of people (as myself, not as a character in a play or sketch) weakens me. Actually doing so has made me panicked and uncertain.
Why, I wonder.
I remember one time at Pat's Rose & Grey, years ago, David Ward (from Island Media Arts Co-Op fame) asked me why I didn't try to direct films (at that time, the medium was still primarily film, not video), and I replied “Because I don't have anything that I want to say right now”.
I think that's a large part of my problem – the idea I have that, in certain mediums, I need “something to say”.
I have the belief, it seems, that songwriting/performing, filmmaking, and creating art, should require you to do it because you are trying to say something, trying to express something. Yet the same notion doesn't exist for me when it comes to acting, or performing improv (notice that I separate the two) – I suppose because I am relatively at ease doing that – and I believe I'm good at it, perhaps, and I believe I am “saying something” (at least some of the time), I don't have the same hangup when it comes to sketch comedy or similar performance and creation.
When it comes down to brass tacks, I guess the reason I do not consider myself a singer or songwriter is because I don't want to waste people's time with my frivolities. Leave that to the grownups.
The same goes for art – only moreso. Whereas I *can* envision a world where I do sing on stage in front of people, I simply cannot fathom myself as someone who creates art – paintings, sculptures, drawing, photography, abstracts, etc. It is beyond me and my abilities. Or it *should* be beyond me, perhaps is what I think.
I see lots of art that I like, where it is obvious that the artist has a clear point of view and a talent to express it. “That person is an artist” I think. I also see art that I consider lazy, boring, unmotivated, pretentious – frivolous – and I think it's this – uninspired art and artists – that keeps me from even contemplating attempting something in that vein. I don't want to create something where, were an alternate-universe version of myself were to see it, I would consider it frivolous and trite.
Which brings me to tonight. Tonight, Arthole is opening in the Gallery at The Guild, and I have a piece in it. Yes, a piece of art.
That damn David Stewart is to blame. And praise, I suppose. A year ago, he basically forced me to confront my “singing in front of people” fear and bias by having my wife and me sing at his wedding ceremony. Now, almost a year to the day later, he basically forced me to display “art” that I have created myself.
I like the way it turned out. I expect it will confound some people and I like that. I expect some people will consider it frivolous and simple and stupid, but for me it is none of those things (well, maybe stupid).
And now that it exists, I don't even care what an alternate-universe version of me would think of it.
David's objective in curating this Arthole project is to have the artists a) challenge themselves; b) challenge the viewer; and/or c) express or represent themselves as artists.
For a) I certainly challenged myself – even contemplating that I was worthy to be part of the project was the biggest challenge I faced.
For b) it's not really up to me to say whether viewers will be challenged – but I believe the potential to be challenged is definitely there.
For c) I think this piece absolutely represents me, as it is basically a non-descript container that contains hidden and unknown elements that possibly nobody will ever see.