My mother and father gave me a little early Christmas present. We don't really do presents anymore, but they gave me a couple books and socks when I went over to their house today.
Oddly enough, getting socks totally reminds me of Christmas, way back, when we used to do presents. Socks sucked back then, but they made me so happy today. (That's kind of funny. And sad.)
They gave me two children's books about Haring. One written by admirers of his work, and one by his sister, both about his life as an artist. Both books illustrated how Haring was kind, caring, loving, generous, and prolific. He was compelled to create from an early age. He always drew. As he grew into an adult artist, he would draw and paint in the subways, on objects, create sculptures, paint murals, etc.
He created because he felt the world needed art. And that art was for everyone.
Haring loved kids and fostering creativity. He collaborated with children, and painted murals at children's hospitals, and found so much joy in giving to them and working with them. His genuinely caring soul was radiant.
It's very common for my work to draw comparisons to Haring's. There is a spirit and aesthetic connection for sure, but my work isn't necessarily about bringing people joy. His work was for people. After reading those two children's books, I feel like my work is almost selfish.
My work is therapy. I create art to overcome anxiety, and share with the world problems I wrestle with that I don't have answers to. Haring was passionate about people and drawing which I find really inspiring. From childhood, he was always drawing and was generous back then as well. He was compelled to create, all the time.
I'm the opposite.
I don't like drawing, or painting. In fact, it pains me. Every time I create, I'm terrified, but the feeling of completing a piece feels amazing. It's a tangible expression of me overcoming the demons in my head. The "can'ts", "don'ts", etc. Each painting is personal growth. Each piece brings me closer to feeling love and comfort in being myself.
I have to force my hand to create, while Haring couldn't be stopped. I feel as though he is light, and I am darkness. He created to bring others joy, while I create to bring myself joy.
Am I terrible?
I've had a hard time with self-confidence because I feel like people who love themselves are boastful, cocky, or arrogant. I know there is a difference, but it seems like a fine line. I never ever wanted to become a cocky person. I value humbleness, but I think for many years I misconstrued meekness as being the better than becoming arrogant or narcissistic.
It has always been easier for me to embrace pain, or discomfort instead of passing that on to someone else. That's why I was always appreciated by my employers. Instead of asking someone to do the thing no one wanted to do, I would do it.
But now, as an artist, I'm working to build myself up, to be proud of who I am. To confidently be and market myself to the world. To declare that me and my work have value.
I'm in the in-between space, the growing space, and it's an uncomfortable space to be in.
You'd figure I'd be comfortable with that by now, because I've never fit in anywhere. I've always found myself alone, in the in-between, and have never felt comfortable being there. That's why I must become an artist.
Because, the in-between is my uniqueness. Working deliberately to embrace that is something I'm attempting to do with vigor, while simultaneously approaching it with caution. I'm nervous I could turn into a self promoting narcissistic monster and justify it by "needing to build my business."
I got a small taste of fame in Detroit when I created Street Culture Mash. We got so much press, and it was intoxicating. The constant need for public validation is the opposite of what I want, yet to become a successful artist I will need to become a public figure.
The double edge sword is real, and I'm not sure how to wield it. I'm having all these feels right now, because I'm going to start sending press releases out tomorrow. Something I haven't done since the Street Culture Mash days. I want my story, and this art show to get picked up, to go viral, to become news.
I've gotten back on social media because I know I need it to build my art business. I'm a nobody right now with a tiny following, yet I can't stop opening the damn apps to see if I have a new like. If I don't, then I open the next app, then the next, and keep cycling back through like it will boost my likes and my self-esteem.
The purpose of me making art is to become confident in who I am and realize the greatest version of myself, but if I'm successful, my media exposure will increase and I know the battle to be mentally healthy will only get harder. I don't want to be a famous person, yet I want to be successful. Successful people tend to become famous.
I wasn't prepared when I started SCM for any of the attention I got, and I know how crazy I felt inside trying to get the next feature or into a bigger publication. As much as I tried to downplay the spotlight, it felt great. Validation feels incredible. Knowing the effect media can have on a person is unnerving, but I hope stepping back into the public with open eyes will help me manage the way media influences me rather than have it consume me.
But I'm probably over thinking things, 'cause this could totally flop. I'm still in that manifesting positive awesome stuff mode, so I think it will be a huge success. But yeah.. I'm just gonna stop typing now.
The December 30th drop is for VIPs... That's you.
All work will be available to you on the 30th for $800 a piece with the exception of my self portrait triptych which will not be discounted, and the show will be exhibited on the homepage of this website.
The official opening is December 31st.
Private viewings are by appointment only, and the show will run until Jan 31st.
I'll post a flyer and some images next week for you to preview.