Sunday, December 12, 2010

The license to be obsessed.

Albatross - 2009, Gourd, copper, enamel, found objects
A while back, I had an email exchange with a woman, a nurse, who remarked to me, rather critically, that she couldn't imagine being obsessed the way I was about a particularly unpleasant thing. Putting aside criticism of how she chose to deal with the world around her, I responded to her that I was an artist; I had license to be obsessed.

What do I mean by that? It means I think about the things that affect me. I think a whole lot about things that affect me. Repeatedly, intensely and often. Why? Because I am a thinking being; it's what I do. I've also been accused of "thinking too much," which I find to be an alien concept. If I have a brain, I have to think otherwise I'm wasting time while I'm aware in this life. But what's the difference between obsession, as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and artistic obsession? For me, the root dynamic can be the same but the direction and results are very different. Artistic obsession contains the element of self-expression. We take in the information over and over again, we seek out more information, over and over again, but we don't stop there. We also seek to understand and synthesize the information and then present it in a new light, with new understanding.

Guilt Tether "If You Really Loved Me..."
- 2009, Enameled copper, mirror, gourd shell
Obsession of the OCD variety is debilitating as there is no step into synthesis, discovery and understanding.  In my opinion, it is circular, repetitious and damaging as it simply takes time and resources needed to feed growth and deteriorates the whole. OCD is the individual eating itself, a circular existence and denial of self-awareness. The artistic element, however, takes that same information, those same resources, the same time frame and feeds the machine of awareness and discovery, providing insight and growth. Of the individual, but hopefully, also, of those beyond the individual.

No comments:

Post a Comment