The Secret Artist #1

How important is it to share?

Are you a Secret Artist? Do you believe in the creative process? Interested in learning more about the journey of this Secret Artist? Then please subscribe HERE!

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Reader, do you share? If so, how much? And what about? Sometimes it can feel like the whole world has gone sharing mad in the seemingly never-ending clamour to be seen and heard. On the whole I have pretty much stayed away from social media/networking… yet here I am writing my first blog entry to you!

It stuck me recently that I am practically a secret artist. As in I practice virtually in secret. I am, by my own choice and action, pretty much invisible. When I paint, perform, or create film and images, very few people will know about it. Productivity has never been a problem but putting my work out into the world has. Why? Control? Probably… Fear? Yes, definitely. I am afraid of the unknown and talking about my work is unfamiliar territory. I’ve always had a rich creative life. Like so many people my imagination is my retreat, my safe place. So I can appreciate how I have cultivated a culture of secrecy around my work and why I might feel protective.

But protective of what exactly?! I don’t know. This is where I begin the journey of opening this blog. To write to you today, I am now overriding my basic instincts, I’m going against the tide of 36 years of mental and emotional programming.

Last week I was talking to a friend, a film maker enjoying a rich retirement from a fulfilling career. I was describing the scene in my studio, my hoarding of sketchbooks (50+ and counting) spanning the last 15 years; writings, drawings, collages, thousands of printed photographic images. Not to mention film clips, audio clips, costumes and oceans of textiles, not to mention the paintings. I noticed I was almost proud of my hidden loot, my secret stash, mentally congratulating myself on having such a large and varied collection of work, pretty much entirely hidden. But, as I looked up out of my self congratulatory stupor, I found myself being looked at with the knowing sympathy of someone who has lived a fearless, open and connected existence of creativity, and then the simple words: “ I think it’s time just to get it all out”

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There is nothing unusual about the contents of my studio, however I know truthfully within all of this material there is a lost voice longing for expression: a voice that wishes to talk about the process, the experiment, the investigation, the lab, the mystery, the love. I felt the flicker of a butterfly or maybe a moth stirring in my chest when I heard the words “it’s time to let it all out.”

I knew it was time. Way, way over time. So here I am.

“If you’ve got something to say, say it! Simple!” Yes, thank you! If that’s what you’re thinking, thank you. I love and need to hear this refreshing perspective so counter to my world and experience.

For some of you maybe you hear my hesitation, my caution, perhaps you too are a secret artist (and that includes the secret artists who hide their work perhaps not in their studio, or even in books, but in their imagination, even if it is just the feeling or longing to be creative not knowing what that is… yet!) I dedicate this blog to you.

To you I commit to sharing weekly about all aspects of my journey as an artist. I’m even considering opening an artist Facebook page in honour of my forthcoming show (more on that coming soon!) But please believe me, when I say, this is an area of life that has defined me. To say I have resistance is an understatement but what my instincts also tell me is; having the courage to share and connect through my work is part of the whole deal of being an artist. Art exists in connection, not isolation. Something tells me that if I release my voice, release my process, I will then also be able to release my work and that my friend is where it’s at, letting go! Next level stuff. Quite probably you are a way ahead of me on this one and if not, the good news is, if I can do it, truly so can you!

See you next week.

Love and best wishes,

Gemma

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Gemma Kauffman’s practice encompasses a variety of strategies and media, which include painting, performance, installation and film. Theatrical and fantastical, her work is both compelling and dynamic. Kauffman is an advocate for the creative spirit of all people and has during the last 10 years pioneered transformative approaches to social engagement.

gemmmakauffman.com


Are you a Secret Artist? Do you believe in the creative process? Interested in learning more about the journey of this Secret Artist? Then please subscribe HERE!          

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