I have been working on a LOT of art lately. Some of it is monsters and scribbles. But I've largely been trying to make some more conscious art, something that can be used as an affirmation, or a mantra, or something reassuring.
It reminds me that meditation doesn't have to be all twisty lotus positions and trying to focus on your breath instead of the existential dread building up inside you because you haven't done laundry in two weeks and you're starting to wonder if people can tell you've been wearing the same underwear for days.
It can be imperfect doodles.
Or it can be an affirmation that you write down in Starbucks, which makes you feel totally enlightened and secretly hope that people will sneak peeks of your sketchbook as they walk by with their lattes and think, "Whoa, that's deep."
I've also been preparing some new musical projects, which includes getting to play with two other amazing songwriters who probably don't write songs about snot (very often) next month! More details will be forthcoming, but I'm really looking forward to getting to share the stage with these two.
Anyway, updates will be forthcoming and hopefully not too sporadic.
Today I'm listening to this. Actually I'm listening to the entire playlist titled "my stuff." I do this on occasion. I like to listen to how I've sung each song, what instruments are used, the flow of the lyrics.
I'm not doing this to bask in the glory of my own genius (although there's absolutely nothing wrong with admiring something you worked hard on). I'm not doing it to show off to anyone, or listen for the things I don't like. I'm not even doing this because I'm editing or working on any specific projects.
I'm doing it to remind myself that I have a voice and I know how to use it.
The current political situation in the US has a lot of people feeling disempowered and unheard, including myself. And there are plenty of instances where these feelings can creep in, regardless of politics. An insensitive remark from a colleague. Seeing little representation of oneself in the media. A mental illness acting up.
These are really good times to make art. It can help distract as well as express. Whether you write a deep, heartfelt poem or draw a silly little doodle or just throw some loops together in Garageband to see how they sound, creating something new is often the best way to get through times of discomfort and insecurity.
These times are also a good time to take a break, collect what you've made, and surround yourself with it. Wear only the jewelry or clothing you've made. Rifle through your portfolios and galleries, watch videos of yourself performing. Listen to your own music.
We, as artists, are often told that we need to be paying attention to others' work. And we do. Spending time actively seeking out and admiring what other people do is a way to inspire yourself, inspire others, and lift up the community. Studying other art for the sake of studying it is very important. Studying other art in order to support other artists is extremely important. Sometimes, though, it's very easy to recognize art as someone else's voice. And sometimes we look at our own art and go, "Hm, my work isn't as meaningful/deep/political/beautiful/whatever as this stuff is. That must mean my voice isn't as strong or important."
Those are brain monsters talking, the little voices that belittle you and try to convince you you're not good enough. And they're little shitheads who lie all. The. Time.
Allow yourself to admire your creations. They are your voice. And your voice is strong. And you will use that strong voice over and over and over, even when you feel like you have nothing left in you. What you've made is proof of what you will make.
Listen to your own music. It's not shameful, boastful or egotistic. It's honest, brave and absolutely necessary.
I guess this doesn't feel like exactly a brand-new beginning. I've been me for a long time, and have been making stuff for a long time, and finally got my act together enough to have a website. With buttons and words and pictures and Facebook links and stuff. And a Twitter. Holy crap, I have a Twitter. I don't even understand Twitter. Like, what do you say in 140 characters? All I can think about are things like "I am cooking a grilled cheese sandwich" or "haha not really, I'm actually just drinking one of those little one-person bottle of wine. To be fair though, that's really just like a 5th of a person, so...kid size? Wait, that's illegal " although that might be more than 140 characters? Math was never my strong suit.
Also I could really do with one of those little bottles of wine right now. This is all a bit overwhelming.
Actually, there have been quite a few beginnings in my life lately. A new year. A new puppy. Lots of new clothes and shoes thanks to said puppy tearing holes in everything. And of course, this. I wasn't really planning to release it this close to the new year, but somehow that's how it ended up. Maybe that's how it was always supposed to be.
But anyway, enough about me. You're here, and I love making new friends even though I sometimes hide in my apartment and order Domino's online to avoid having to go out in public or make a phone call. Come on into my little, monster-filled den and tell me about yourself. I have wine!
And thank you for being here. I'm looking forward to this new adventure.
Me hanging out with a monster at Meow Wolf. He's not very talkative, but he's cool.