Epiphanies are strange things and can often come at unexpected times and in unexpected places. I was recently having a chat with a student of mine (who will be called Kerry just in case they prefer to remain anonymous). It was a pleasant chat about art and inspiration over a few martinis, she preceded to tell me about her son who had a severe disability; she continued to tell me that in many ways those were the reason she was drawn to my art. I found this fascinating because this seems to be something I and other instructors come across, parents with special needs children are often drawn to art retreats for one reason or another.
I ordered a second martini and pressed Kerry about the reason she was drawn to my class in particular. After all, my style of art can often be rather foreboding to some, so, what she told me came as quite a surprise. She felt that my creations and characters were unashamedly "imperfect" and that in her world what she was faced with was imperfection...and in that imperfect world, she has found beauty.
I was quiet for a moment as a bolt of lightning came crashing down on my head. This perspective had never really dawned on me. For me, my creations were explorations of souls working there way through the issues of mortality. What I hadn't really realised was that my characters were also about the disenfranchised, the freaks, the isolated, the lost...just trying to find a home in a difficult and sometimes uncaring universe. It immediately made me think back to my very difficult high school years, a geeky kid with a severely acne scarred face....lonely and imperfect trying to find a path in a world that sought perfection.
As an artist, I don't know if you every entirely know the reasons why you create what you create. If an artist is honest with his or herself, I think the best one can do is to come up with glimpses and hints. To date, this gin inspired conversation was perhaps one of the most profound clues to my aesthetic tendencies and artistic obsessions. Who says martinis aren't good for you?