This last dive involved switching my focus from making art as part of a private healing process and instead making art with the intention of sharing it publicly.
I decided to display it on a website that does not have my name attached so that I can make art without worrying about it being attached to my Teacher identity. The idea of that is very appealing, and I think I have just begun to let go and get into what that means for me. I don't have total privacy, since this work and the website are part of my capstone that I will be showing others. It is still attached to Hilary McLean. I am still aware of holding back.
Making art that I know I will be showing definitely changes the though process around making it. I am focused on quantity, not quality, trying to continue to work experimentally and to not spend too much time on any one piece.
The symbols that I have worked with, that have personal meaning for me, and now going out into the world, and that means letting go of them. I cannot force my meaning onto them any more. In her Art:21 interviews, Kiki Smith talks about this, about having a collection of "characters" and letting them live many lives. This extends beyond the life they life in my work. They have a life out in the world too.
But the biggest thing about all this is the realization that no one really cares. And I don't mean that in a self pitying Eeyore kind of way (well I do a little). My circle of people care about what I make, because they care about me. But beyond that, I doubt my work will matter much to anyone else. There are thousands and thousands of other artists, many with work similar to mine, and no one cares about what any of us are making.
It brings me back to why I never stayed in the art world in the first place: complete lack of ambition. To get attention for your work, you have to work very hard at the business side of it, and I have no interest in that.
The world of expressive arts, or art made for healing or for spiritual reasons is one in which community is important. The group support, the fellowship of others on their own journey is what I like. I get that from school, and once I am out of school all I feel is isolation. I have no interest in working in isolation. I like making my own art in the presence of others, and talking about and sharing it. The only place I find that sense of fellowship is in the expressive arts world.
I'm also aware of judging the work I am making because I will be showing it to strangers. I'm not very happy with anything I've made, and I feel stuck with it because it is my capstone, and I committed to this.