You Are Here: Questions I Ask Myself

I enjoy setting goals for myself, small goals, something to finish by the end of the day, something to work on throughout the week, very general adventures or projects to pursue during the year. As stray breezes begin to hint at fall, I take time to think about how these seemingly trifling yet strategic goals build upon one another.

Last year, when I left Montreal and McGill University, my artistic goals were fairly straight-forward; to continue to exhibit works whenever possible, to begin writing a bit more about each painting and why I paint, to never stop seeking beauty and truth, and to continue to do something artistic each day, preferably in the context of my previous work (but without repeating myself). Though I was able to complete paintings such as Depth Puzzle [above, 2009] while in Canada, graduate school did not allow me very much time to pursue art as anything more than a hobby, and that was too out of tune with the direction my thoughts and actions had been following for the past years to be acceptable. I had to re-arrange my schedule and re-arrange some of my goals so that my art could continue to flourish.

Most serious artists probably find themselves asking painfully self-conscious questions: How do I promote my work? Is it irresponsible of me to spend so much time making art? Do others enjoy my work? It is important for an artist, having answered these questions to his satisfaction (if they were not self-explanatory or even trite to him in the first place), to move on to a more enlightened set of questions: Does my work contribute something worthwhile to my community? Does it take into consideration historical context? Am I doing everything that I could possibly be doing at this point to create meaningful work and integrate that meaningful work into a meaningful life?

I do not like to ask myself too many questions when it comes to making art. In a sense, art is what results after I have already explored questions through experience or thought and so I have no need to cringe at every brushstroke with Kafkaesque paranoia and post-modern analysis; instead, I can serenely guide the combination of color, energy, and spirit that makes up a brushstroke across the canvas. To me, art will always be a thing to be done and experienced first and foremost. . . yet as I reach the final quarter of each year, I always return to that latter set of questions concerning community, context, and the art of life itself, and as I contemplate my answers, new small goals will gradually begin to arise for the next few months and my next new year of life as a painter.

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