// Return to my portfolio website //

Archive for October, 2014

How Robin Williams helped me understand art

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

When I started to take my art seriously a few years ago… I’m talking quit my job, leave my rural town and go to art school; really change my life around to make space for it serious… I felt like I had a secret. The secret was that my art was going to be ugly.

In truth, I didn’t know what my art was going to look like. But I did know that the art was going to be about climate change and how I was not ok with us messing up our planet. I felt angry, sad, and I demanded large-scale change. And I knew that I wanted to express all of this through art. How could these feelings and demands result in something beautiful?

For a while, I had a hard time reconciling how my art could be beautiful, sellable, or something that someone might want in their home. For a while, I felt pressure to build this perceived gap between beauty and what I felt my art was really about. But in doing so, I think I misunderstood what art really is.

I heard a replay of an interview with Robin Williams on the radio recently. Towards the end of the interview, he talked about how honesty, particularly regarding sad and depressive subjects, is so key to comedy. He said that he felt that comedians are the most real people he knew because they look at both the good and the bad. In other words, they experience difficulty and they process it; they don’t ignore. They sit with uncomfortable things and offer a new take. The interview helped me see that it’s this time spent hashing things out about the subject that’s so valuable.

I feel that artists do a similar thing. We’re not necessarily ending up with something beautiful, but the process of going through it and chewing on truths of a certain moment in time is valuable. And the pursuit of that, actually, is quite beautiful.