Going Into Greater Mind
In October of last year, I quit my life as I knew it. It was part of an eighteen year plan that actually had begun the moment I was born: to be a full time artist and writer. I had successfully managed to work on my art, get published, participate in shows, and evolve my voice as an artist over the past two decades while also raising a daughter and working full time but it wasn’t just being in shows and seeing my name in print that had been my lifelong goal. Quite the contrary. I wanted my entire life to be a form of art, to be focused around art, to be encompassed by art, and to consist of nothing else but art.
Art could no longer be a side thing, it had to become the main thing. It had to come before everything else. It had to be the elemental impetus of my existence. I remembered things that backed this up like an article with Author Dennis Cooper I read once where he admitted that in order to become the writer he wanted to be, he had to quit his high powered job, chose to work instead as a restaurant employee, so that he could devote all his brain space and energy to his chosen craft. The minute he made this commitment, he was able to finish and sell his first successful book. I recalled an article about Kiki Smith, one of the female artists of today who I admire most, where she spoke of a piece she had installed where an artist sat at a desk working on plans for the next piece with nothing else but a bed-denoting that the artist’s life is one of solitude and devotion. Then I read a piece about another favorite artist of mine, Maurizio Catellan, who retains a lifestyle where he only has a small apartment with a bed and some clothes so that he has nothing else he has to maintain or think about other than his art.
I realized this was a brave desire, fed nothing but skepticism in a world where people live with carefully guarded wishes close to their chests in lieu of choosing the safe routes. I had chosen the safe route for a long time and found myself looking in the mirror in October ‘09 after sending my 18 year old daughter into the world and knew that it was time to quit life as I previously knew it and embrace the artist’s life fully, not just in output but in practice—the everyday practice of living. It was now or never.
So I did. I left a house and memories and let it go, I reduced my possessions from a house full to those that could fit in a tiny two story loft bedroom in my family’s home and that mainly consisted of books, clothes, photographs, artwork and art supplies. I reduced my PR client load to only those who represented similar interests as me. I left the social world that I had been so successful in and stopped going out at night to dinners and galas and parties and instead focused all my attention on writing and painting and working on art. I got rid of any concern or maintenance related item I still had and began concentrating on true inner focus.
After six months and a hell of a lot of faith, and a lot of naysaying by fearful friends who thought I was crazy, and blind commitment, I was accepted as a studio artist at the new Arts at Context building in Indio, California where I will be able to work full time in the environment of grassroots culture in a community with other artists and friends I admire to build a new kind of living. Head first and happy, I am diving in.
I am tired of egos and politics and consumerism and greed and getting ahead and staking a claim and owning things and status symbols and not knowing my neighbors and not talking to people in grocery store lines and not buying into the time clock and living life with some other set of codes that I didn’t create, nor ever would. I don’t want the almighty dollar to rule my path or the direction I take. I just want to create, communicate, touch other people and feel truly alive and thriving every day for the rest of my life interconnecting with the world through the only fresh thing we have left: art and its creation.