Last week on Facebook, I saw a link to this amazing little book. (Thanks to Kristveig, at Gullkistan) The author, Andrew Simonet, is a fellow Philadelphian, a choreographer, and co-founder of Headlong Dance Theater. It’s a generous gift, this book, full of wisdom and practical advice about finding balance and building a sustainable life as an artist. It’s available as a free PDF here and he is hoping to reach as many artists as possible. Check it out!
A GUIDE TO BUILDING A BALANCED, SUSTAINABLE ARTISTIC LIFE. DON’T STARVE. MAKE ART.
This book inspired me to think about where I have been as an artist, and where I might go from here, especially after absorbing the impact of my residency in Iceland. So, here it is, my Mission Statement:
I am a visual artist. I make pictures to hang on walls.
My mission as an artist is to find meaning in my life though the process of looking, reflecting and creating. I make art because it helps me understand who I am. The poet Rilke said that to be alive fully is to find your way to the fullest expression of your being. That is my direction, my fingerpost: Go Deeper.
My art is a product of silence, dreaming, watching, working, and failing… and patience, letting fear subside, letting the censors leave the room… and working again.
I spend many solitary hours reflecting. I have approached my art-making as a mirror of light and form in nature; as a way to deeply experience, and capture, the impossibly ephemeral here and now.
Now I see memento mori all around me, as artists do at mid-life. “We bones, lying here bare, await yours.” Now I position my mirror of the world in a place behind my eyes, so that I can create artwork that is born of nature, but is more interior, more synthesized, more me.
I want my artwork to touch the deep nerve of humanity that runs through every individual. I want to work with a sense of humility, and present my artwork without puffery. I recognize my place among all artists, before and after my time. This does not worry me! It makes me feel a part of the world.