Friday, November 06, 2009

Opening Another Vein

I took some time out to untangle my thoughts about where I want to go next with my work. The last time I did this in earnest was in early 2006. The result: the works that became Venus In Hell. I don't have any sense yet of what might come of this, although I suspect it'll be messy, violent, dark and different to what I've done before.
I started by writing down all the things I've tried not to think about for a long time: things that have made me angry or ashamed, things I've tried to forget. Not all of them make sense now although sometimes I stumbled upon clues that helped me resolve puzzles that have bothered me for years. I tried to stay detached and unemotional – it wasn't easy – so I could mine as much unrefined data as possible. I didn't stop to think or reflect. If I couldn't find the right words, I drew small pictures to come back to later.
Truth is, I was afraid to stop. If I did, I might have felt I was losing my grip. My head was (still is) full of random images – like fragments of raw film footage – snatches of dialogue and faint, half-forgotten tastes and smells, all jumbled together. The key was not to try to sort them out, to edit them, but to keep going, to let it all spill out in one, purging stream-of-consciousness.
I still have no idea whether I can make art out of any of it.


Kathleen said...

Hazel, I only know you through your blog/twitter. Love your honesty about the emotional swinging you do and how you use the pain and open yourself to create as part of it. I've loved all of Kay Redfield Jameson's Books and how you approach it in your life is what Elizabeth Gilbert is talking about in one of my favorite TED talks:

Thx for for writing it open instead of cutting it open.

Annie Paul said...

echoing kathleen's thoughts...i'm very grateful to be privy to your art processes (and to own a piece, however tiny)...opening another vein is a really pivotal post. I've been following your rhythms on twitter the last few weeks and it was obvious you were getting ready to shed your skin again. I loved Venus in Hell.Look forward to the new art/work.

Aaron B. Brown said...

I realize you are very focused person Hazel, that focus along with your talent, is what got you the recognition and success you seem to be achieving. And those achievements are impressive and inspiring. So not knowing you personally I would never presume to offer you career or personal advice.

But after reading your blog for just a few months, it seems that you have an awful lot on your plate. Between creating the artwork itself, dealing with promotions, dealers and public showings, along with your blog writing, reading and responding to the pieces that are published about you, I imagine you don't have much free time, or time for a personal life, or just the Me Time that all of us need. So I thought maybe I would encourage you to take a little time to smell the roses, and enjoy life. Nothing wrong with a little basking in the glory and going out and having a little fun.

I appreciate art of all types, but art exists for people, and the artist is a person with the same needs that we all have, and my primary concern is always for the well-being of the person. And anyone who tries to do it all often find themselves draining the tank pretty quickly, so to speak. It's easy to get burned out when you're trying to wear so many hats. Please forgive me if I'm a little mother hen-ish, it's in my nature. :-)

And so many young artists of promise, those who end up making it really big, wind up spreading themselves out so much, spreading themselves so thin that they often end up losing themselves, history is replete with examples. Society appreciates and benefits from the art that is created, but sometimes the price paid by the artist is very high, sometimes The Public can take everything and leave you with next to nothing for yourself. Again an artist is a person, and that person needs to reserve a space just for themselves, so that they can remain centered and maintain that focus which is so necessary for creating as well as everyday existence.

Despite reading your blog I nor anyone else really has any idea what your life, specifically your inner life, what it's really like. So my words are only cautionary, I just want you to be careful with yourself, so that later on down the road when you're in your 40s and 50s, you will be able to enjoy your life, your accomplishments, the laurels, and still have something left to give others and most importantly yourself.

Again forgive me, I'm very good at picking up on stuff from the things people write, and when I read a title like Opening Another Vein, well, I realize it can have more than one meaning, so just remember it's your life, live it the way you want. It's good to give, it's also good to receive as well, and sometimes just relax in the sun a bit.


Indigene said...

Henry James: "We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."