Monday, November 3, 2008
when was the last time you danced?
Query: If you were planning a solo exhibit, and most of the paintings represented motherhood/pregnancy, what would be the soundtrack in your studio?
Let's see... something tender and loving... lots of woman power and fertility... vacillating from gentle lullabies to kickass grrrl celebration?
Naw, not my style.
Seems i'm painting this entire series to St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley. Because when I think of motherhood, I think of "a Syd Barrett-like descent into madness," including themes of "paranoia, schizophrenia, necrophilia, and suicide", as Rolling Stone magazine describes the platinum-selling first album by producer Danger Mouse and former gangster/gangsta rapper Cee-Lo.
And no matter how many times I hunt through my CD collection or prattle about iTunes, I keep listening to this CD again and again and again. It just calls me.
That's what I love so much about art-- you don't call it; it calls you.
I don't feel like I get to decide what each painting will be, how they will fit together, what sort of voodoo is going to call them into the light from the ether. They just happen. That whole "it's the journey, not the destination" cliche. I don't consciously go into the studio thinking, "I'm going to use this pose and these colors and head in this direction". I just wake up and say, "Time to do stuff," and then, as they say, shit happens. And i'm left with dry, stained hands and a navel full of paint.
It's a lot like being pregnant, really. Sometimes you plan it; sometimes, it just happens. You don't get to choose how many babies or what gender or what hair color-- it just happens. You don't get to choose whether you have a calm or crazy pregnancy, when or if you're going to barf, when the baby will arrive. Often, despite the best planning and research, you don't even get to decide how or where your little masterpiece enters the world.
You're simply a vessel for a body that comes from nothing and becomes something, oftentimes dragging you through hell and shaking you like a ragdoll before you get there.
I like art, and I like pregnancy, and I like Gnarls Barkley. Go figure.