This might sound negative, but it’s really meant to be positive. i feel like i’m finally acknowledging an essential question: am I really contributing to the world as an artist anymore? this might sound like a question that one should never ask, but one should always question and always ask. i think.
somewhere around 6 or 7 years ago, people in my audiences would tell me that the work evoked sadness, or loneliness, or isolation, or angst, or despair. words like that. i always dismissed it. Certain people, but not all people, were not getting my sensibility, my dark sense of humor. could they not tell i was kidding, exaggerating, hypothesizing? did they really think i was being literal? was it too subtle? just because i write in the first person doesn’t mean that the work is about me. interpreting work as autobiographical is always so easy.
but so many people were responding that way, until it re-emerged as a feedback loop. the more work i put out into the world, the more i seemed to perpetuate it. those responses began bouncing back at me, to define me. they began to become my identity. they became a kind of filter. a kind of prison. a dead weight. i never wanted to settle into that.
so i began to wonder… what was the point of putting out more sadness, or loneliness or angst or despair or darkness out into the world–even if that was not at all my intent? my entire reason for making art was to create work that was transformational. i had always hoped that my work was maybe helping people feel less alone. maybe i was subverting sadness in a way that re-framed people’s perceptions.
but what happens when that kind of transformation does not occur? should i channel my energies elsewhere? should i try to create a new framework around the creative process?
maybe this is what i need to work on next. or maybe this is not about me at all. maybe it’s all about that character, that “I” at the center of the narrative. Maybe it’s time for that “I” to be replaced by a new character.