Who Am I?

Today’s tutorial felt a bit more like therapy than usual! Jonathan asked me about my writing and whether I felt it was becoming my practice. I didn’t think so. I write in order to clarify my thoughts. My ‘art’ is to evoke emotions.

He wondered if I thought about the audience – I do when I write, but not when I make practical work. I’m trying to evoke an emotion in me. Once I make something and ‘release’ it, I am done. I have no control over it, how it’s interpreted or what people think. To me, making my work public is the end of my process. I’ve evoked what I want to in myself and now the work can be set free.

Writing is different. I’m not a great academic writer. In academic writing, the writer does all of the work. In fiction, some of the work is done by the reader. I try to be somewhere in between. I explain things, but also set things up for the reader to ‘discover’ for themselves, or to connect for themselves, or to feel for themselves.

Jonathan asked me about calling myself an artist. It’s still really difficult for me to do this. I was asked the other day ‘what do you do?’ And I most definitely didn’t say ‘I’m an artist.’ I said ‘I think someone needs to earn the title ‘artist’, you don’t just declare it.’ He wondered if part of the earning of it, was in the declaration. I wasn’t sure.

We talked about the different ‘art worlds’. There’s one ‘art world’ that calls itself an ‘art world’ and everyone in it calls themselves ‘artists’ and… it is not at ALL the world I think of when I say ‘the art world’. I’ve written about this before but, to me, there is a difference between ‘running an art business’ (or having a creative career) and ‘being an artist’. Both are perfectly legitimate pursuits… but one of them isn’t for me.

I said that if I ever became an artist like G**** T*** (because I don’t want to say shitty things about people) with a whole factory just churning out my greatest hits over and over again because they sell, I’d be bored as fuck. To me, that’d be like working an office job (which is not for me) or running a business. If I was interested in running a business, I could just do what SideHustleKing says and be satisfied.

So what is it that I should be doing…?

I’m interested in text based work and films… But I’m thinking about Janet Cardiff again…