It’s half 5 am, again.
I have not been sleeping well lately. I’ve been falling asleep around 8-9pm with the girls, which seems to result in waking at 2-5am unable to return to sleep.. oh dear.
I am watching The Hobbit making of documentary online (again).
On Friday I attended a screening of the film ‘Lost in Living’ put on by a friend. It was fab & one of the questions posed & discussed by us after was.. why make art?
When there is so much practical work to be done – as a parent, domestic chores, nurturing, not to mention financial worries and pressures.. how can anyone justify making art?
The best way for me to give my response would be to turn the question on its head.
As a full time caregiver, chore-doer and financially stressed being, what’s the best way for me to nurture myself in the little pockets of time I have? What is the most freeing form of self expression? What do I enjoy most? What would I like to dedicate my ‘me’ time to? What can I luxuriate on, now?
I no longer spend hours at the shops choosing clothes (wasn’t too keen on that before anyway), I go out for a drink & catch up with friends very occasionally, and I’m in no rush to substitute precious moments with my young children for the sake of any old job.
Why make art?
The mothers in the film had all felt pressured to justify themselves.
My mum worked as a physiotherapist & was drawn to biology at school. She is interested in the tangible and practical. She spends the vast majority of her spare time at the stables, mucking out or horse riding, all very hands on. She thinks I over analyse, and I do, but I can’t help it (am realising and coming to terms with this more rather than trying to ‘Just stop over thinking everything!’ as she instructs..)
Soooo trying to justify to myself that it’s OK to and totally valid to want to self-express or explore worlds and lives and topics totally superfluous to here-and-now feels a little odd, and really made me connect with the film. Mothers of the past few decades of feminisms discussed their experiences, and their children were interviewed too. Finding a balance between giving as a parent, and feeling (shiver at the cliché but can’t think of better word) empowered as a (oh, here we go) woman, is still a strange place of void and suspicion. Women are divided by their status, their priorities, their choices and judgements.
Why make art?
I used to watch the Lord of the Rings ‘behind the scenes’ film making documentaries again.. and again.. and again. I was obsessed with every part of the process. That hundreds of people would come together and make something unreal. The collaborative effort and shared camaraderie; wanting to move people, feeling moved themselves in such a big way. In our individualised society of bigger, better, faster, more.. there is still space for art. People still go to the cinema in their millions and spend hours watching, entering another world, luxuriating and letting themselves be challenged, or moved. They have no idea about the process behind the result. They do not know about the 50 takes which may have preceded the images they are watching flash before them. They do not know the team who sweated and stayed awake worrying weeks before the pitch was due and celebrated before weeks of planning.
Art appears in pop-up shops, it is on city streets and it is in every library book, untouched for years and rediscovered at random. Art comes into my mind when I am on a bus. I will remember a line or a scene, and smile, or think. It will relate to some moment of my day, the two merge and create a new thought pattern. Perception alters, life reflects art, reflecting life, and the two create each other.
Why make art?
I still feel under pressure. Who am I to make art? I feel pressured to express something beyond my depth.. to solve world crises and expose corruption. Then I click onto Youtube. Hannah Montana has dry humped a wrecking ball.. or something along those lines; I’m not sure, I’m still refusing to watch it. Memes spring up on Facebook, mildly racist. My teenage sister posts another Quizzzzz. I begin to feel justified in making art.
My cousin (who I’ve only met a couple of times & lives on the other side of the planet) makes a video about making art. I make more art. I’m not sure whether it’s good, but I certainly start to feel justified.