I had an unpleasant jolt of insight last month when I attended a local brainstorming session concerning re-purposing an old school building.
I’d expected to encounter other artists looking for studio space or collaboration, but found myself instead in a room full of ‘cultural entrepreneurs’. This included artists, but also bed and breakfast owners, and others connected with the tourist industry.
My state of mind at the time was extremely negative. Having rejected participation in either the gallery or business worlds, out of principle, I was the odd man out. I’d just started to have contact with the transition community and felt that no one outside that circle could begin to understand what I stood for or cared about.
Later, I realised how extreme my position had become over the years. Being ‘for’ a new, more compassionate and connected art, I had pitted myself against anything that was not that. And as a result, by intentionally cutting myself off from the old paradigm commercial artworld, unintentionally put myself outside my community of fellow artists. (Admittedly, I’ve been navigating a light burn-out as well for the last 3 years, so it has been a necessarily inward time. )
But insidiously, perhaps declaring myself ‘in transition’ had provided me with an excuse to simply not try anymore, especially if the efforts involved supporting ‘Empire’-the whole industrial-commercial complex which we so dearly want to change.
So I decided to slowly take steps outward again. I contacted someone from the dreaded gallery world (where unfortunately my art would become a mere product in simply a well disguised art warehouse). And worse, if the gallery wasn’t positive, I’d be giving someone the power to reject my work (this indeed happened and I am still alive and well.) I also became active in a local work-group for traffic safety. And last night, I attended a cultural get together event.
This was really a long intro to that event, so I’ll save it for the next post.