You know the story. It's the story of our 2000's everyman. You live in a tiny Irish back-arse of no where town (rather, your family does). You have your green fields childhood. You make art all the time. You have an uncomfortable and secluded, supremely nerdy adolescence. You still make art all the time. Then, you go to the big city for College. You are born. Experiences and friendships and relationships flood and whirl around you like glorious colourful magic. It's all wonderful and exciting. You grow delirious, dizzy and confused. You haven't made any art in a long time. You start to hear and read a lot about the economic crisis. You get to study it in college. And unemployment. And emigration. More and more of your friends post on their facebook feeds about the comedic dole-collecting videos made by their Youtube sensation friends and about their own arrangements to leave the country.
You walk out of your last exam. You move out. You go home. To that place that you haven't thought of as home in years. Maybe you tried to find a job, maybe you didn't. You move back in with your parents. You take a good look around, settle back in front of your laptop and throw up Facebook.
I never thought that I'd find myself in that predicament.
And yet, here we are. Back up in Donegal. All around my bedroom lie the scaffolding and half-constructed castles of my teenage ambitions. When I wanted nothing more than to draw comicbooks and bring a delicious, fat portfolio to Image Comics headquarters. How things change. How much I have convinced myself of. Up until I moved back home, I was contemplating internships and masters. And even...for about two seconds...the dreaded LLB.
I didn't want to butcher my inner-child's self-esteem that much.
So, now that I'm out of the system, there is only one left to do: make art. All the time. Fantastic, massive art, all the time. Fill my house with stacks of canvases leaning against each other, clogging the hallways, shelves of resource books and magazines, infinite folders on my laptop with cropped cuttings of jpegs and loaded, catalogued online galleries. Nothing left but do exactly what 16 year old me has been waiting for me to start doing for these centuries of self-development.
But it's terrifying.
Making art and following my art to wherever it decides to take me is monstrously scary. It is overwhelming; full of doubt and paranoia. Forget that I'm faced with the underdevelopment of a cohesive and accessible “art market”, in Ireland and everywhere (I have a LOT to write about with regards that, you'll see); the tremors and tempests of the self is the worst. The. Worst. And for being an artist, unfortunately, it's more than relevant. It's the deal breaker. The clincher. The figurative be-all and end-all for real commitment to the field. And how easily that commitment comes in and out of breathing, like the living dead. It dies, then resurrects itself, then dies again, leaving you, the artist, completely self-admonished.
The self-trust, the self-discipline, the self-discovery and solidifying self-determination. The massive self-confrontation you have to do and the self-deconstruction you have to do, along-side that hideous dismantlement of systemic habits and side effects about 20 years of the conventional education and career system has afflicted you with. You're like a small nation after a revolution or a dog staring into a mirror - you have to be ready to rewrite everything.
All of this art-exercising and art-exorcising (wahey) will definitely provide more than enough content for my blog all on it's own (I still need to design my header, logo, profile...stay connected). Besides, there is my need to comment on art, on art developments, on the art world and on artists, those quirky, kamikaze creatures. On why we need art to stay alive, on why RIGHT NOW IN 2012 art is more important that ever (yadda yadda)...
For the first time in about eight years, I have the time, the lack of dire money shortages (I work for my mum as a psychiatric secretary, our office is downstairs, my living quarters are upstairs) and I have the physical space necessary to start arting the fuck out of my generational lethargy. This is it. As Rob Lowe's character, Billy Hicks, from one of my favourite coming-of-age films of all time, St. Elmo's Fire, famously says to his break-down, clinically depressed mess of a friend, “We're all going through this. It's our time at the edge.”
Some people go to Australia or Thailand or back to college to find themselves. I went home.
Oh, and RSS feed me, bro.