Evolution of an Artist : How Not to Sit in a Corner and Suck on Rats

Evolution of an Artist : How Not to Sit in a Corner and Suck on Rats

Several years ago I saw the movie, Interview with a Vampire. While not really a great philosophical movie, and I think I am being generous here, one concept really stuck with me. The new vampire, Louis, played by Brad Pitt, was baffled as to why, if vampires are indestructible, the oldest one was only 400 years old and not 4,000 years old. The explanation was simple: vampires failed to evolve.

Flash to the last part of the movie and you see Lestat, Louis’ maker, hiding from streetlights in the corner of an abandoned house. The once grand and confident vampire, afraid to go out, was feeding on rats and starving. He too had failed to evolve.

I sometimes get signals that it is time for me to evolve. When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, I knew that I had to either embrace the new culture of connectedness or hide in a corner. Years later I rode the tide of digital photography from shooting straight photographs to manipulating my work–using Photoshop–into collages.

I am now faced with another opportunity to either evolve or retreat into a corner.

This year was one of my best ever; at the same time, there were some unexpected rejections on the art front. I initially thought that only a re-evaluation of my art was in order, but I am reconsidering this idea now. What is needed most, I believe, is a re-evaluation of my perspective, my lifestyle and perhaps most importantly, my ego.

So I am trying new things: little experiments with the look, materials and meaning of my work. I know that many of the pieces I am creating are stepping stones to the next place I’m going.

And as far as self is concerned, I am returning to the places that have helped in the past. I am rereading an amazing book, The End of Your World, by Adyashanti, along with writings by Pema Chodron. The real challenge, for me, is to recommit to what helps most: meditation.

So here’s to new art, a new perspective and to stepping out of the corner and into the light.

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