From Memory

Süßes Schmerz

As I was out with a friend one evening, we stopped by Ferarra's - the best Italian pastry shop in Little Italy, or so I've been advised - so that I could get him to try a cannoli. We picked out a sampling of sweets, most of which he'd not tasted before. He looked over the display and commented that "sweet things often end up badly" (this Sprichwort sounded better in Swiss).

I've been thinking about that "box of pastry" ever since.

I have trouble drawing things from memory, and that's why it took me so long to make this little sketch of the aforementioned "sweet things." However, I have a very photographic, detail-capture function in my brain. I can recall, with clarity, specific life-changing events from when I was two years old. I can tell you what shade of aqua and how deep the rippling water was the first time I tossed a coin into the Trevi Fountain. (And no, it's not because I can just google up the image on my browser.) But if you asked me to draw these things - to use my hands to create a likeness of the picture in my memory - I'd lose it. My perspective would be wonky, the value incoherent, the foreshortening a mess. In fact, I think I'm afraid that I'd lose the memory if I let it filter out through my fingers.

With my art, I have built up a storehouse of usable material in my head. Projects, like this one, are filed in hierarchical and separate drawers. But that's not the problem. My internal filing system isn't a hindrance and the answer is not, "just throw it all down on paper/canvas - don't bind yourself with these left-brained concepts of organization, let it happen naturally!" (Complete with a bohemian stupor of manic creativity?) Here's the real problem: the projects in my head aren't getting out... in any way, shape or form.

See, that's the thing about what you think you want and what is good for you. What I want is to live with conviction and passion. What is necessary at the moment is to make a dent in those student loans from an education that provided me tools to realize, with more conviction, my artistic passion. So what is good for me? Though the metaphorical life lived inside of that box of pastry, with all of its sensory titillation may momentarily satisfy, it doesn't give one much sustainable energy. Sweets are tasty on occasion, but to sustain a life-long stream of creativity I need to be feeding myself a steady diet of healthy studio practice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!
I'd love it if you'd "come along for the journey" with me - please follow my blog.