We all learn at a young age the perils of being perceived as different. We learn that others have the power to single out, to ridicule, to turn away from and mark the one who is different. Choose your own memories, but one way or another we've all felt the hurt of the little boy who wanted to write poems, or the little girl who tried to join the sandlot ball game. As an artist, you learn these lessons all over again - with a vengeance. In following the path of your heart, the chances are that your work will not be understandable to others. At least not immediately, and not to a wide audience... Wanting to be understood is a basic need - an affirmation of the humanity you share with everyone around you. The risk is fearsome: in making your real work you hand the audience the power to deny the understanding you seek; you hand them the power to say, "your'e not like us; you're weird; your'e crazy."
This is an excerpt from a book I'm reading, Art&Fear, which dives into just that. Art. And Fear. It explores the way art gets made, the reason it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. As I read it I see in my life where I have been afraid, especially in making art for a living. How am I going to create security in my family? Will there always be a demand for my work? Will people forget about my work, or even yet me? Can I even make a difference or get noticed without selling out and make what I think other people want to see? How and what that looks like might change a lot, but I honestly don't see myself not doing art for the end of my days. I kind of just know that I was made for it. How I use art as a tool is what brings me fear. The fear that I taste is knowing that for me to make myself vulnerable and help other people I must be open to rejection and disappointment. Rejected by who? People? Surely people can't determine what kind of art I create... Right? I am not rejected but already saved. I've already been washed up on shore and being put back together. I need to bring others with me. For all have fallen and fall short of the Glory of God. All have failed and will fail in what they do in life. There is this song by Listener that goes,
I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it but we're making it taped together on borrowed crutches and new starts we all have the same holes in our hearts... everything falls apart at the exact same time that it all comes together perfectly for the next step but my fear is this prison... that I keep locked below the main deck I keep a key under my pillow, it's quiet and it's hidden and my hopes are weapons that I'm still learning how to use right but they're heavy and I'm awkward...
Dan wrote this song from a dream that was about a coastal town that wanted to build a church but had no lumber, so they built it out of the wood from ship wreaked vessels. I truly want to create art that exposes the holes in our hearts. The brokeness in our lives that desperately needs saving. I want to not keep my heart locked up but make myself vulnerable so others that are hurting can see the power in vulnerability and honesty. I want to use my art to change lives to create something that all comes perfectly together. To be reconciled. Maybe my art moves you or maybe it doesn't. But what I do know, is that I must not fear my calling in life but embrace it knowing that I am loved by a creator so much that He lets me create.