Courtesy of The Daily Bunny
To kickstart 2012 on an artistic and personal level, I want to share this comment that touches on creative endeavors and vulnerability:
“If you don’t feel personally exposed when publishing the game, you did not make art.”
– Daniel Benmergui, an independent video game creator
Daniel Benmergui was responding specifically to the question of video games as art, but I think what he said applies just as much to all forms of art.
That exposure, putting myself and my thoughts out there for people to see, is always a bit terrifying for me. I’m constantly jealous of the people that can just display online or in person what I feel like are the squishy, inner guts of our emotional lives that should stay well within my body:
Learn how to strip wires, install power supplies and ground sockets in a day.
Talk about my feelings and how I find something hurtful or stressful.
“…. Must we really talk about such things?”
And yet, the artists and creators that share their inner thoughts publicly are the ones that have helped me the most in navigating my own life.
If I really pause and think about it, we expose ourselves whether we mean to or not. Just as it’s impossible for writers to *not* have a voice, that’s pretty much the same for any creative endeavor. If I’m a private person and I don’t feel comfortable revealing what I consider to be “my business” publicly or with friends, I have already revealed what I consider to be private or not. At the end of the day, it’s a scary experience for anyone to put themselves out there.
Even though for some people, it feels like they can splash their experiences and emotions everywhere as they process and work through their problems in what seems like a public forum like the Internet, what it really means is that at that moment they have a different definition of what feels safe or not to them. Even the vocal ones have their own experiences and feelings that would make them feel overly naked or exposed to share with others.
Whether I mean to or not, my art is colored by my life experiences. It can’t help being a reflection of my feelings at that time. When I go through more stressful, urgent periods in my life, my art and my writing change to more “dark & twisty” topics and moods. Sometimes, it gets overwhelming enough that I choose survival and silence over trying to express anything at all, via artwork or with friends. When I feel more optimistic and hopeful, I start sharing lots of photos of foods and bunnies.
2011 introduced a lot of challenges and growth in areas that I didn’t expect and couldn’t foresee, some were just super overwhelming where it truly felt like I just couldn’t continue. I pretty much stopped creating anything but the bare minimum and severely limited communicating my inner thoughts to most everyone. I just didn’t want to externalize the problems that were already overrunning everything else. 2011 also had insanely wonderful events like *our wedding* where our friends and family truly affirmed in every way through their support, late night help and on the day shenanigans how ridiculously lucky, blessed and loved we are.
Knock on wood, 2012 will have growth but maybe not as many growing pains as 2011. :) And I am already thinking of different projects that I’m eager to start on. Now it’s just a matter of really unpacking and getting my studio in order so that I don’t have to struggle to find things like paper and erasers.
I look forward to 2012, and I wish for everyone the very best 2012 they can make for themselves, too.