Evocative of Life


Art, too, is suspended between life and death. The work of art seems full of vital energy, but it is no more than an inanimate object. The mystery of art is how black marks on a page, or pigment on a canvas, or the scraping of a bow in catgut, can be so richly evocative of life.

- Terry Eagleton, On Evil

I've been reading this book that discusses evil (you must have guessed from the title) and how it is a palpable force in our contemporary world. Obviously this quote struck out to me. It is from a chapter how evil leaches life from others to fill an aching absence in ourself. The whole book discusses the presence and depictions of evil in literary novels, theological and psychoanalytic sources, it's hard going to read, but it makes me think (it's also obvious the writer is a Christian and a Marxist).

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who creates art as a savage need to rid ourselves of visuals, to create something lasting, please, don't forget me, here's a pretty picture. Having a gaping hole inside me does not make me evil, being an artist doesn't make me evil, but does being an artist make me concerned with death, and identity?

Often, in early art training at college and universities so many get caught in making biographical work, that is concerned with their identity. It was something I wanted to strike out from in my first year, but then I remember one big argument.

Everything you do is a self portrait

- Chuck Palahnuik, Diary

Even when working on works about the economy, nature, how many times my neighbour screams and listens to pink floyd, the work I make will have my take on it, my visual signature, my finger prints and my intellectual ideas. The work I make is as much about me as itΒ is about my neighbour losing his shit.

I don't believe this is reserved for the purely visual arts, music, novels, poetry, it all is entrenched with the owners style, how ever subconscious it is. I believe that when looking at anything creative you could base it down to looking at identity and how we view the world, this may or may not be part of my BPD I need to obviously take into account that not everyone has such an unstable sense of self as myself.

The book also discusses circular and linear time, which may be another subject for another day.

I think of the art works I create, I'd like to believe they are coherent as mine, that they carry my signature. I pour so much into my artworks, as I'm sure many do, they hold my soul and the hold my hopes and dreams. They are like my children, and I never want breathing ones. Art and making art makes sleeping difficult sometimes, my brain wired in an extreme way, desperate to create.

If energy cannot be created or destroyed, then my artwork have my energy in them, they vibrate with me, and so yes, they are a self portrait, because I am in them.