They say that we have an innate ability to form images. That we formed images before we formed words. But that once we started forming words, our images were criticized, so we stopped forming them, except in our dreams. All of us are artists. All of us have our own visual expression to reflect our idiosyncratic lives. And truly, not everybody wants/needs to explore this language. But for those of us that do, it can be quite the unnerving experience. Granted, not everybody struggles to find their own visual voice. And mad kudos to them for having the strength and sense of self to persevere, to let their voice flow through their art utensil of choice. I know people like this personally, and it’s amazing to be in their presence. Kevin Mino is such a person. He has developed his own voice and never let the doubts and criticism of others affect his art. He never stopped forming his images, like I did. And the time and energy he has spent on his art is truly impressive.
I don’t remember when I stopped creating my images. I just know I did. For me, I think other things just demanded my time and I couldn’t balance it all. It wasn’t until I entered college and went through the courses picking out all of my elective classes that I decided to pursue art once again. And since then, it has been a struggle. I feel so far behind. I never want to share any of my art for fear of that criticism and knowing that I don’t put as much time into art as I should. I should be doing more. I should always be doing more. And it’s embarrassing to admit that the fear of failure is what keeps me from even trying. I read so many books about art and how to get over your fear and all that crap. But what it comes down to is just doing art. Weaving art into my daily life. Accepting that not everything will be great or perfect and that it will be a constant improvement and a constant adventure. But I do, I get disabled by the myths of art. The ones that say what is and isn’t good art, how to do art and all of that jazz. Fear man.
Even now. I have been talking for a while about using art to explore my emotions and to channel them onto a canvas and away from people and my relationships. And yet, when I look at my art, it is controlled and stagnant. And my emotions are definitely NOT controlled and stagnant. They are wild and crazy and out-of-freaking-control. How can I expect to make art a channel when it doesn’t reflect what I am channeling. It’s not a mirror. It’s an imposed idea of what I think others expect it to look like. And again, I’m a sensitive person, maybe I’m scared to see what those emotions look like on canvas, and I’m scared of what others reactions to them will be.
I remember sharing a project in college once, in one of my design classes. We had to do a design project based on the lapse of time of something. Most people did a sun rise, the blossoming of a flower, all fluffy happy happy crap. Me. I did the progression of a suicidal mind. One of my closest friends had just tried to commit suicide, and it was affecting me on a soul level. And I thought art was about showing your soul. So I showed mine, and got slammed. The negative, abusive comments I received sent a dagger straight through my artistic heart and butchered my ability to create art true to myself. I am still bleeding from that one day. And perhaps if I were a stronger person, I wouldn’t have let it affect me the way it did. But I’m not, and it did. And I am still trying to recover. Nearly seven years later, and I still can’t express myself through art. I still have no visual voice. Makes me quite sad. Sad that I took to heart what other people said, and sad that it still scares me to hear what future people may say. It makes me sad that I harbor fear of finding my image voice.