Is there an advantage to loneliness? I mean, is there an advantage to the creative artist, whether it be painter, writer, musician, to have loneliness? Has great art usually been accompanied with sadness? Many have said that the artist needs to be slaving away in a Spartan studio to reach the pinnacle of their creativity. The saying that art must first suffer to become successful, comes to mind.
Its a fair question. Look at the career of Van Gogh. His life was a particularly lonely one. Its argued that he was one of the most creative of painters in art history. I bet, if I was a betting man, that Vincent would rather have not been so lonely, even if it meant his work would suffer. The truth is that an artist often times is unaware when their work suffers, particularly due to happiness. Jackson Pollock, also suffered from great sadness and feeling incomplete. His work flourished and exploded in the eyes of the art world. This was in direct response to his life of emptiness. His life was fertile ground for great art.
Years ago, I lived in a full house with a loving wife and two step children. There was happy noises and a sweet voice to listen to and to share my thoughts and dreams with. I would have to say that I was very happy and very content. I painted all the time. The difference was that I did not care whether my happiness was in the way of my art. When one is happy, little else matters. I learned a great deal technically through trial and error but the work did not have the scope of pathos that is in my work today. Back then I painted about the Ancient Maya and their struggles and culture. It was removed as I was removed from their emotions. My feelings were of love, warmth and peace. There wasn’t much contrast in my life.
Over the last few years my life of bliss was abruptly cut short with the harsh realities of this world we live in. Without going into details, my life did make a 180 degree change. Today I am in an empty home and there are no happy noises. In my studio there is nobody to share a sneak peak of my latest painting on the easel. Everything has happened to me so quickly that it was hard to react the first year. Now, today, my painting is no longer about a distant culture or their struggles. My paintings are pieces of me. Each painting comes off my heart in pure concentrated emotion, dripping with reality.The work directs itself as my heart is reacting to my new surroundings, so does my hand on the canvas. I do not particularly care about galleries today. They have no part in the collaboration of my work.
Out of the silence comes truth. Out of loneliness comes clarity. Do I wish I had less loneliness, less clarity and more happiness? Of course, because when I was happy I was not aware of the work’s clarity, nor did I care. Loneliness does create better art because to live life is to go through pain and trials as well as mountain-top experiences. I know that God has a plan. That is what keeps me going. That is what keeps me painting and keeps me sharing.