Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Artist Lock In

This past weekend I participated in Eye Level's Artist Lock in. I have never experienced anything like this. It was my 3rd lock in experience however this one was special for me. Something beautiful happened. I stopped thinking. I went into my heart space and worked without regard for anything else, including how damn tired I was, how badly I wanted to go home and crawl in my bed and think of nothing but sleep. I kept working. I didn't give up, and I was pleased with the results.

Here's how it happened. I arrived wanting to run/cry/crawl in a hole. Here were 24 other artists around me, here was a gallery space that was not the comfort of my studio or home, here was an uncommon situation. I set up. I centered. I breathed. I started painting, and it was hard. I was trying too hard. I was feeling, yeah, I'm at the artist lock in now, it's time to make really cool art. It just didn't happen.

I spent the next hour or so struggling and fighting with my process. After putting two pieces aside that I was working on, an accident came my way. I spilt a jar of ink on my table. I thought well here's the perfect opportunity to make something happen. That's exactly what I thought. I knew I had something on my hands here. I didn't worry about the spilt ink. Is what I did was use the spilt ink. I knew this was the opportune moment. I grabbed some paper. I shuffled around, I messed stuff up, I pulled stuff out, whatever, I did it, and I didn't care.

Colors came alive on my palette, marks happened that felt genuine. I pulled brushes out. I pulled drawing media out. I just started. This is a prime example of what I like to call, "effectively freak out". I effectively freaked out. Alas, I didn't care. And it was beautiful.

Whatever happened happened. I got into it. Finally, I got into my own process. Colors emerged on my paper, marks moved me, the organic motion of the ink just flowed everywhere.

I proceeded to make image after image and did not stop until I was told to sign, price, label my work and go home. Now for anyone in their right mind, that was a damn long time. 24 hours. Standing on one's feet making art. I am a very active artist. I move around a lot, the faster the better, the more energized the better. 24 hours with little food, rest and sleep was nothing short of exhausting. But the beauty of the experience was this-- something in me clicked, something in me came alive, I stopped thinking. It was a spiritual experience, and I knew it.

Think Jimi Hendrix. Think Jim Morrison. Think Van Gough.

It has taken me quite some time to recover from this experience. I was too tired to photograph my work. I have no record of many of the images. But what I have is experience, and that will lead to greater things.

I trust the spirit world.

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