Archive for October 23rd, 2021

GC Myers- Carried Across sm

Carried Across– At West End Gallery

While working here in the studio yesterday, I was listening to a podcast from TCM (Turner Classic Movies) about the making of the screen adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. Even though it was not a movie in which I found little worth watching and the novel, filled as it was with unsympathetic characters, did not thrill me in any way, I found the backstory of the movie’s production pretty interesting.

There was one bit where the movie reviewer from the Wall Street Journal, who was given total access at the time to the production, spoke of how director Brian DePalma would often isolate himself from the chaos from the production that swirled around him– and for which he was almost totally responsible– by putting on his earphones to listen to a favorite opera on his Walkman. As the huge budget overruns and other problems mounted, he tried to block it out with something he found beautiful.

The reviewer said that she thought this typical for artists, that they had to be able to block out all the noise and naysaying in order to be able to maintain their own belief that whatever work was at hand was the most important thing in the world at that moment.

That struck a chord. It’s something I struggle with on a regular basis especially at times like those which we are collectively going through. Unless you have an overly giant and problematic ego, it’s easy to see that in the bigger scheme of things that the world doesn’t revolve around one’s personal creations.

This is healthy from a psychological standpoint.  But creatively, it creates a problem because in order to make work that is truly vital the artist has to maintain total belief in the validity and importance of their work. That total dedication of self is an imperative.

If the artist doesn’t maintain belief why would anyone else?

I’ve said this before, that I recognize my own relative insignificance both as a human and in the grand sweep of art history. I’m okay with that. But when I am at work I have to have total belief that the piece in front of me has something vital to express.

That it has some degree of importance.

That is not comparing my work to that of anyone else. That is not for me to do. I am talking about the basis of my expression, the belief in what I trying to say. In that moment I have to believe that my expression is as valid and important as that of any other artist or person, now or in the past.

But sometimes in the midst of the swirl of the chaos of this world, self doubts creep in and that belief is weakened. It’s hard to create at those times.

I certainly know that feeling.

Hearing that yesterday on the TCM podcast was a reminder of the need to isolate myself in some ways in order to maintain that belief that whatever is at hand is the most important thing I can be doing at that moment.

I don’t know that I adequately described what I want to say here but the time has come to end this for this morning. I am once more finding¬† that belief and have to get to work before it decides to run away again.

So, you must leave now.

Here’s some exit music in the form of a lovely rendition of a Leonard Cohen song, Came So Far For Beauty, from Lisa Hannigan.

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