I’m a bit confused these days on how to make art. It’s been a week, possibly a few months, where I’ve just been waving my pen around in an aimless attempt to create something. Even a line would be welcomed at this point.
Somehow the whole act of drawing has become some mysterious, confusing, mind- boggling exterior activity I swear I’ve never partaken in before. Let alone spent nearly a decade at various academic institutions “fine tuning” the skills of classical masters. Once upon a time this right hand of mine was an independent entity from my body; it lived its own existence and did whatever the hell it wanted. Most times it was churning out doodles, drawings, paintings and photographs so beyond my realm of consciousness that I honestly felt as though accepting them under credit of my name was plagiarism.
Emotions used to play a huge factor in the creation process, and I discovered that anger was potentially my best ally. Admittedly, I would traverse my daily routine with the impression that every moment was a “Hulk Angry” occasion, thus, I took no heed to respect others’ opinions, or physical bubbles and SPLASHED right into their emotions. The Hulkier I got, the better that night’s art work binge became.
Then “it” happened, this notion of being an ADULT. That illness which afflicts us all. You graduate from your school of choice and believe that yes, you too will be able to subside on your creative juices alone. You won’t be one of those artists who is also a / waitress / bartender / window-washer / barista. Heavens no. You’re different. You have this aspect of uniqueness and that umph to lay siege to the market and reign supreme! You are the Gangas Khan of art, and you’re going to leave the masses beginning for mercy. But then you wake up late for your shift at McDonalds three years post -graduation and begin to understand that being an artist is perhaps the hardest career choice one can be tossed into. And you just happen to have that talent which is now making you more of a pathetic loser than you were in high-school.
At least that’s what’s happened to me, here folks. I’ve become much worse off than that pimply adolescent who wore her pj’s in class and rarely washed her hair, (or teeth, for that matter). I exited with such promise from The Victoria College of Art and Design in BC back in my early 20’s, on my way to another institution to further my practices. My professors saw potential and praised my work, sighting things along the lines of “fascinating” and “prolific.” Yes, my head grew 10 sizes too big and I was a living lollipop. Then the fall came, the debt piled up and I realized that hey, even though people like my art and seem to think it’s worth complimenting on, no one buys it. No one wants to pay money for it. They don’t mind accepting it for free, because after all, artists aren’t real people to all those other career jockeys running the rat race of life.
So, then I learned that hey, I have to survive somehow, so I go out and started working the endless slew of minimum wage jobs and experimental career choices. Most often people assume I’ve had an interesting life thus far and it’s been abound with excitement.
“You’ve been an editor! A journalist? You worked at an antique shop? You were a fish monger? You worked on a crab boat and spent summers in the Yukon?”
Yes, and yes to all of the above, and then some. As romantic as it all sounds, it’s been a daunting lifestyle, bouncing from job to job just to sustain some minimal aspect of life. But here is where the real rub and confusion comes in:; with survival comes the loss of creativity. I have no ability – or energy – to churn out artworks after hours spent at my temporary career of the month, then coming home to work on writings for various publications (all pro-bono), then working on commissioned designs for friends or businesses. When the lust and time to create an original Meghan Clarkston piece arises, I’m as lost as priest in a sex shop. It’s all dried up to make way for room for my “adult” lifestyle. So here I wheel around on my Easter Long Weekend, sketch book in hand, and slowly trying to find a balance with my passion for art, and with the realization that I will always be that artist/waitress/barista/bartender.