Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This Artist and the Ego



When I first started contemplating being a visual artist instead of a performance artist, much of that decision was based on a inner search for some deeper meaning in my life and how man fits into the scheme of nature...the grand plan if you will. I am not trying to sell anything or suggest this is a path for everyone just telling a story.

My perception is not that we have dominion over the planet but instead is more as if we are a part of the network that is the web of life on the planet. More simply put we are just another aspect of nature as valuable as trees and grass, etc but not separate from them.

The entire body of my work has been based on this relationship between man, mostly myself, and nature. I didn't choose this theme with intent; it chose me. I am still chewing on this piece of gum. However, with the planet in an obvious major transition, my work seemed to want to move in a new direction as well. This has been an intense struggle for me....like trying to find your way in an unfamiliar dark room.......which, along with many other family and business demands.....is why you have not been seeing any new work on the blog

Trying to overcome this dilemma, I have spent many hours in thought.....always a good way to stop working...and have finally come to a realization that part of the problem was that pesky ego thing. Would I still have an audience if I changed style...what would happen to my teaching dates, etc. Although I have spent many years practicing meditation and tyring to rid myself of ego to enter into a place of deeper spiritual awareness, the ego rushed back in full force to protect itself.....it liked being Gabrielle Swain and wasn't ready to endanger that.

Basically, I was at war with myself....when suddenly the light bulb turned on. The simple answer was to step out of the way and let the art make itself. Quit trying to force the work in any particular direction just be silent and wait. Accept whatever comes as a gift and tell my ego to pack up all the luggage and either get ready for a new trip or leave town.

My firm belief has always been that art is for the artist....a process of discovery, finding meaning and tapping into unknown areas of self. The second part of the equation...the viewer...is out of my control. How my work effects the viewer is a truly unknown conversation.

Sorry for the long post but this has been the culmination of a journey....so I am stepping aside, removing the ego factor and eagerly awaiting what will manifest from this decision. It is almost as if i am starting back of at he beginning...a very exciting process.

Thank you four recent comments and for putting up with my diatribes, This is an amazing community so valuable to our work. So the new journey begins, I will try to keep you posted on the progress. But in closing, while the ego is necessary, fame, fortune and all the trappings are not the focus. It is the work that leads us down the road to that place of understanding.

Stepping off the soap box in the hope that this made some sense. Thank you for your patience in this stream of consciousness post.


6 comments:

Deb said...

I was just thinking along those lines this morning. Posed question to self:
"Self" I said "whose work do you like best". Without hesitation Self piped up "Mine". I'm satisfied. No ego wars here. I won. Today.

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

Let me start by saying I read your blog but I am a lurker. I love the work you do!

When I was young my art, quilting and designs just came to me. With no formal training I never knew what was right or wrong. Over the years I have learned from others and the web has opened the world to me. Now I have to remember the artist in me and fore go ego. Also remembering to do my art for me and not thinking what would someone else like it has helped.

Good luck finding your way.

Trista Hill said...

Wow -- this has been my struggle, too. The ego says, "you have to make money, you cannot afford this downtime, this floundering, you must figure out what to do NOW or you might die" (financially, figuratively....)

I have always focused more on the product than the process. I'm still not sure how to make the shift.

But reading your posts give me hope, at least that there is somewhere else out there working to also come from the right place where it just simply flows.

Stream of consciousness is wonderful -- yours is the best.

Stewcat said...

gabrielle
No matter what your art becomes,deep down,you are still you. So whatever direction your art takes, there still will be an audience, maybe just a different audience. And that isn't bad.
I loved your applique style and first books, but as I have grown and changed, what I like has changed also. Maybe there's others like me who have changed, hopefully for the better, as artists.

Exuberant Color said...

So why do you really think you have to change and do something new? Your old stuff is great and is the reason they are all calling you to teach. You finally hit the nail on the head with let the art make itself. Also with retirement there is no schedule, and I am a Scorpio too, we need a little sense of order and direction. You need to figure out a little mini schedule that you can live with.

diva of quilts said...

"Art is for the artist..." I like that. I've always made my art and my quilts to please myself. It's a fortunate side effect that others are attracted to my work, perhaps because I'm not trying to be something I'm not.