Where is joy? I’ve been struggling with this. Studying art as an undergraduate can make you either a robot for craft or concept. And even if you excel at both something feels missing. I think it’s love.
I’ve never attended a critique where the love an artist puts into a piece is discussed or perceived. Instead we drill down into the formal and conceptual aspects of the piece. I think people get uncomfortable with love. And talking about love under the umbrella of art feels ambiguous.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend and they left me with this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”:
“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself.”
So what I’ve been insisting myself to do is this: encourage my love for making. My love for putting pen to paper. My love for thinking. My love for the process. My intense desire to create a window to the world.
So to all the artists and tender creatures out there; peace be with your heart, soul and weary hands.
Go get your love back!
Just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I visited an established artist in her studio, so I have a fresh reminder of longtime expression of love through her medium. AND I do remember thinking to myself how fortunate she is.