Art therapy

When I was in high school I became very goal oriented in my last three years. I didn’t have practical goals but they were goals nonetheless. I really wanted to get into art school and preferred a university. I worked so hard on that goal that I didn’t do well at my higher school certificate though I was in the top 10% of the state in art. When I was in primary school my reports always said I was capable but didn’t apply myself. It was only when I discovered art that I actually applied myself in my high school years and years since. When I was quite young I loved drawing and the only part of primary school I enjoyed was doing colourful drawings for assignments. I have always made some type of art since I was quite young. For whatever reason I still doubt myself as an artist and feel ready to give myself a hard time. Though don’t get me wrong, I am not depressed or impinged by this. Actually this constant doubt and inner criticism keeps me focused. When things get quiet and there seems to be nothing to work on I know from experience that making things also requires time to not be making things.

I feel like I have spread myself thin by being multidisciplinary and I feel like there is no clear direction in some of these interests. At least not clear in that they will stand alone from other media. For example, I might do a collage. The collage will be a finished digital image capable of being printed at high resolution. Then I never print it or exhibit it because I don’t have access to a space or any reason to exhibit it. Several years later I reference the collage in a painting. I have never exhibited the painting either. The digital collage is in a file server mirrored in cloud storage that I pay for along with thousands of images. The painting is in bubble wrap in storage. Very rarely I get to exhibit work. When I was in university I remember seeing fine art displayed and wanting that high level of care and excellence for my own work one day. Yet the reality for people in my position is venues. 

Not that I am complaining but I have enough work to fill a gallery ten times over. I haven’t printed some of my digital works and framed them as I don’t have enough room to store them and would probably exhibit them unframed so I can either store them or give them away. That is the problem of the past twenty years. Most of my work (aerosol art mainly) is now a digital image in high resolution. Most of my work was designed to be stored. Some work has been printed. That is after it sat in digital formats for over a decade. The prints were temporary because they were never framed. Most of my work will simply disappear. What I hope to do is be able to afford to make a solo show (it will be expensive to produce) but like the past fifteen years I have put my money to practical pursuits and can’t afford to make a high quality solo show. Also what would be the point?

Is it to celebrate the achievement of creativity? Or is it to meet intellectual guidelines within current contemporary art? I have made things because of a chronic need to keep my mind active and have therapeutic benefits. Even if you have an exhibition of decades of art how can you also afford to advertise and get marketed to the public? Well the honest answer is you can’t do it. If you look at most successful contemporary artists they will need a lot of money behind them to keep working at a high level. My own practice is not at that level and offers little incentive for investors. Either way I hope I can make some opportunities or get some backing. In the end though art kept me busy and sane. That was my primary goal in art making after art school. I can explore what I want without the pressure of having financial goals. 

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