Trauma went and inspiration arrived

Was listening to the poetry society podcast and there was some talk of the wound as power, the poet made a point that he needed to be happy to write poetry although the wound could still be the inspiration for the poem in any case. When I think of my first attraction to art I did feel that my own wounds were the inspiration for that world of shadows and artifice. Darker works attracted me although I have never really been a melancholic type. There is an attraction to a darker world, sometimes my wall painting collaborator will accuse me of being too dark and I will be stuck painting underpasses and abandoned lots. In any case, my own work is pretty safe and I will normally have a dark undercurrent but it isn’t overt. For one I am fairly careful what I paint in public space but yes it is inspired by that dark underworld. My last book of short stories is quite bleak although it ends with some general wisdom, probably more aimed at a younger crowd.

When I first saw Koyaanisqatsi I felt that the overall feel of that movie was in a slightly dark vein but it is more or less an expression of humans and technology which strikes a chord of seeing the bigger picture of modern life. I was an impressionable teenager and the power of the movie made me want to recreate the same undercurrent. The film is somewhat larger and more complex to navigate but I felt if I could even get a little bit of that movie feel in my own work I was doing ok. I got a little bit of it in my first set of work after art school using video stills in a lo-fi framework. The work is cinematic, which is hard to get into painting graffiti work but I kept trying. I was also inspired by early video work by Bill Viola which perfectly touches on that larger world of existential beauty.

In some ways when a friend I used to collaborate with joked about my obsession with black and moody graffiti I suppose it can make me look like a teenager who has never grown up, yet I kept banging on about it. When I first started art school that general vibe was popular with artists trying to emulate the current fashion of rather bleak contemporary German art in the early nineties. Fashions change which is rather refreshing but I am still moved by those formative years of post-industrial darkness. I was in my element in the nineties but now I have more skills at hand and a little more understanding, at least I know what inspired me. This makes sense with my written work which is pretty bad but maps out that space, I feel my memoir captured this world I tried to find in art.

At the same time, some artists I know will tell me I have a very clear visual language that comes through in drawing, video and aerosol, I could always do a lot better though on many fronts. The other night I forgot to take my medication and got lost in a train of thought where I considered going back to art school and trying to leverage learning with being part of an institution to improve my artistic work standard. Only in that, I have spent the years after art school doing aerosol work mainly with some drawing and painting that is secondary to the aerosol practice. Personally, I can see things changing somewhat in the next few years mainly because I have the opportunity to create a professional standard and I will have the space and means to do it. Having an institution at hand would mean better leverage but I am still not sure I could do art full time.

Possibly having more access to regional art centres could help me get a foothold in art, at the same time I am happy to simply make the work and store it in the extra space I will have access to. I have good contacts but I really need to lift that overall standard to make a go of turning painting and drawing from secondary to primary. After my mind had explored these ideas in a stupor of impending mild psychosis I remembered I hadn’t had my medication and I finally gave my racing mind a break. So the wound gives you the inspiration to explore this world you have fallen into, one way I look at it is you fall out of the net of social norms and find yourself with a different position or alternate point of view. Then you try to see if you can faithfully build that world, again and again, some media is better than others, sometimes the still image can be more to the point than the cinematic moving image.

You get inspired by a visual language, always trying to perfect it, yet I am always failing but I keep trying because I feel it is worth the effort, the wound itself is the catalyst but as the poet said in the interview you need to be happy to be able to make work. If I could pinpoint the idea of the wound I would say it lives in your heart and your heart is the world of ideas you feel and explore. It doesn’t have to be overt but just there a little bit. I also feel it is pretty cliche to talk of the wound but I do feel there can be a cathartic calling from trauma even though it passed long ago.

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