A strong sense of self is paramount in such an age of fluidity and the virtual. Identity can so often be constructed around that which is external, and this can be a significant challenge once any outer falls away, and we can be left feeling all at sea. It’s a natural inclination that individuals want to feel a belonging and also that their existence is justified by a sense of purpose. When any of these elements are lacking we can feel a sense of dread, a feeling of non-existence even. Some artists practise in isolation, yet it is important to remain connected to community and the world beyond in order to keep well and productive, with a healthful outlook and perspective.
The outer world brings inspiration, inter-relatedness, interaction and energy and this is important to recognise and engage, for a balanced life. We live in a peculiar time where in the same moment we are both hyper-connected, yet utterly alone. There is a need for active togetherness and collaboration to counter the separateness pedalled by political agenda. If we do not respect the need for finding the quality for togetherness in our lives, we are in danger of becoming both alienated from self and other; it is my experience that these come hand in hand, simultaneously. I’m not sure when being ‘attached’ became so negatively coded; of course it is an honest appreciation to say that humans need this quality in their lives, after all as Donne asserts ‘no man is an island, entire of itself’….
Though art and craft practise can be a private endeavour, this is best supported by a sharing reality beyond it. Many creatives can be compulsive in their process and practise as standard, and there is a real advantage I find to have any extreme behaviour levelled by good friends who ground you, and keep you from spending too much time with the clouds.
Loss of identity is a typical theme brought by clients to sessions, which is why I feel it is important to enact the locating of oneself within a known, familiar landscape for a sense of contentedness, what one might describe as a world-view, which is a framework of belief that enables us to be comfortable, enabling wellness in being.
The difficulty with artistry is that the product of works is a pure extension of self, outcomes are the individual, they are one and the same, indivisible. The artist is both defined by works and the creator of works. So often the product of creativity is subject to scrutiny (subjective), which is to some extent therefore a critique of the artist himself, and hard not to take it personally.
We identify with much, but are we truly known to ourselves? Is the version of self we project into the outer world a true version of our essential self, or specifically a ‘version’, which suggests a multiplicity. If one can be authentic across the board in every aspect of life, a sense of wholeness is achieved. Otherwise a fragmented self exists, and this can be disorientating. Fragmentation will require integration work. Creative complexity and visionary thought can lead to the scattering of energies, disconnectedness even, so there’s a need for activities that help to ground you.
We ourselves are the masterpiece, or works in progress at least.