I have been driven by my desire to create art for as long as I can remember. From drawing, building ceramics, to painting and printmaking. Growing up, my father built two kilns in the backyard for my mother to fire her ceramics. All through my childhood we entered the Royal Easter Show in Lapidary and Painting, and my mother taught ceramics at primary school. Creativity has always been part of my life. Yet it’s taken a while to recognise the importance of fulfilling my creative desires in life. My drive to give it further prominence necessitated a move to Melbourne after doing a course in Stone Lithography here. Once here, it was two more short courses in Etching and several more years before I finally accepted that formal training was necessary to further my printmaking practice and enrolled in art school. Three years of art school was fantastic, hard work and mind extending in ways that are still influencing my creative output. Learning new techniques, and re-learning old techniques, staying true to the creative journey and being brave were all things I learnt from art school. Being open to criticism and feedback was often challenging, but once processed – always useful. I will never forget ‘the mistakes or unintended results bring about some of your best works’ feedback at assessment. Being asking to repeat my mistakes in a more structured and nuanced way gave me license to chase my creative desires uninhibited and it was powerful advice that stays with me even today when I am in my studio.
I have always been an open and curious person and I must admit that coming to Melbourne augured changes within me, opening me further and providing stimulus for fulfilment I never knew possible. The move delivered more challenges, and with that, more desires to meet. It provided me with more creative inspiration and energy than I have had in any other city or country I have lived. And as part of my creative evolution, I have become more open to experiences I would have previously shunned or feared. At the same time, over the last few years I have been fortunate to work for some highly intelligent, brilliant, articulate people who have supported and nurtured me and my work. To a greater extent, this exploration on desire is due to their encouragement. They push me to learn, they push me to embrace my creativity and produce more art, they help me get back onto the path that they see I struggle to stay with. Normalising my tendency towards over achievement, they encourage me to slow down, be mindful and seek out experiences that open and extend me. All the while, providing space for me to study an undergraduate degree and produce art so I can best reach my potential as a human being, individual snowflake and artist.
Attending art school legitimised my ‘creative ways’ – providing explanation for some of my more quirky ‘artistic’ tendencies and so it was with much amusement that I read the following articles exploring why creative people might be unhinged (psychotic) or how as this article on Fast Company puts it ‘the amount of information that’s getting into your mind determines how creative -or crazy- you might be”
Or as Shane Parrish on Farnam Street puts it, in a slightly different way here: “why creative people tend to be eccentric”
And as Eric Barker puts it on Barking up the wrong tree here: ‘are great artists more like to be crazy?’
The intensity of the creative mind and the subtle differences between creative people and the rest of the world was covered in some of the lectures in art school. Yet there was no advice for killing off the crazy, just advice for handling its intensity while following your passion in a measured way, as to not drive yourself insane focusing on only one thing -fulfilling your creative desires – to the exclusion of everything else.
So it is with this in mind that I actually wonder when I indulge my ability to quickly collate and process high volumes of information I may be skewing my perception of time? Taking this a step further – I wonder whether this perception of time effects my view of permanence and impermanence? I have always thought fast, talked fast and been quick to judge, and while I can be patient, I do tend to start looking for the next point of stimulus just after finishing with the last. You could say I get bored easily. But it’s more than that. I get through one thing and go looking for the next thing, it is now second nature to feed my desire for going fast. This is a good skill for some work, like processing high volumes of information, scanning uni readings for key messages, and quickly creating a critical commentary or urgent briefing. Yet I find it challenging in my personal life, particularly around interactions with men I desire to be desired by. If I can process a large volume of information and articulate thoughts in what seems like an instant, imagine if you will, what it feels like waiting 20 mins, three hours, or a day for a response to a message. Perhaps it is just a matter of focus. Perhaps my desire to be desired acutely blunts my focus. I am not certain, but I believe that to be free of this desire would be wonderful and liberating and perhaps allow more space for my quest to find more meaning and purpose in my life. So perhaps as part of this exploration on desire it is time to turn my attention to sharpening my focus, as suggested by Daniel Goleman in this article for the Huffington Post here: ‘7 ways to sharpen your focus’ and improving my attention span as suggested by Eric Barker here in ‘stay focused’, so I can focus on what really matters and live a better life. We will see.