Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Think. I Am.

For too long, I've been unable to think.
When I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic, earlier this year, there were so many broken connections in my head it could only be described as a complete system crash. I couldn't function even at a basic bio-mechanical level let alone communicate coherently. The psychotropic drugs my doctors prescribed controlled the collapse but soon they turned my brain to mush. Thinking was like squinting into an opaque lens smeared with oil: the simplest ideas were formless shadows, too faint to make out.
I withdrew from the drugs against the doctors advice. I was left with a relentless, repetitive electro-static jolt that, for a time, was an insurmountable obstacle to comfort inside my own head.
After I was discharged, I distracted myself as best I could. I was desperate to be productive again so I focussed on practical tasks, like setting up somewhere in which to work. I cancelled out the mental white noise with rigorous physical exercise. When I began making art again, I didn't have to think: I just worked on what I had conceived before I broke down rather than try anything new.
Thinking deeply, coherently, and creatively matters to me. I became an artist because I wanted to live a life of the mind, immersed in new and evolving ideas. Now that I'm settled into a routine – albeit in the last place I expected to be, my former home town of Brisbane, where I have returned to be close to my ailing father – I can retreat back into my own head space and plot what comes next in work that has always been primarily conceptual despite its apparently easy accessibility.
Without the gritty substance of good ideas, productivity is hollow and pointless. The complex, architectural process of conception doesn't just give meaning to my work, it gives meaning to me.

5 comments:

Hugh Gilbert said...

Hazel, I admire your relentless honesty. I've always thought that artists have a tough time, their work is about their ego, which to be successful has to be on show. There is nothing as nerve wracking as getting the insides out and putting them up on the wall.

If you can't afford to buy the artists' work, then at least it is important to say I like your work, which I do...

All best


Hugh

paula said...

work that has always been primarily conceptual despite its apparently easy accessibility conceptual work is NOT easy for me and i think i've recently read you talking about conceptual work being an easy way out. i might be wrong on that one. i guess my point is it ISN'T easy for me..if something is easy for someone i think it means its natural. do you think art is supposed to be 'hard'?
quite honestly i like this work on this post more than the nudes. but thats just me.

faunawolf said...

May you and your father have ease of mind.

Solemn Reverie said...

"The complex, architectural process of conception doesn't just give meaning to my work, it gives meaning to me."

---that's an amazing line and one that I completely identify with.

conception.

Solemn Reverie said...

"The complex, architectural process of conception doesn't just give meaning to my work, it gives meaning to me."

---that's an amazing line and one that I completely identify with.

conception.