The Road of Imagination:
....the artist is one who dwells in the lofty clouds of inspiration; and how does this one get to that place of being, except they have chosen to opt out of playing to please the many and by doing so, there has appeared before them an open door, ”....and to the one who knocks, it shall be opened”, this open door leads to that which is called the road of imagination….
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” -by: Saint Francis of Assisi
“Our imagination flies; we are its shadow on the earth.” —Vladimir Nabokov
I am the one who has labored with my hands in toil and sweat at wood, all the while being a wood working laborer. While working at laboring in wood I wanted to be a somebody, yes I was a ‘wanna be’ striving to be a part of the elitist craftsman class. And so in my spare time I read all the books, saved and bought all the right tools ‘they said’ I needed to have to create after what ‘they called’ the traditional way of woodworking. But in the end, my soul was dying and my spirit had given up the thought of ever flying again.
Notice those words, ” ….my spirit had given up the thought of ever flying again.” Yes, there was a time that my spirit did fly, although those memories where filed away in a closet marked childhood, dreams of yesterday at the house of past. You see there was the years I spent as a child dreaming and then moving on to my teen years where dreaming became more regulated as other events always seemed to take first place. Girls, school, grades, the future, war and then if I survived all these there was the what will I do with my life to be successful. There were the many now who told me that dreaming and flying with your imagination just did not make sense and there was no money in it. These were my first critics, who often served up just plain ‘destructive criticism’ and then there where the more knowing who plied me with ‘constructive criticism’. And so was my inoculation into the adult world where I was created in the image of these ‘others’ to play a role and be ‘the man’.
And so my dreams grew fainter and I put my wings away in order to play in this adult world. The saddest day came when I thought myself to be a craftsman and realized that I was still laboring all the more. As a craftsman I now had to please the critics who defined by their ‘altitude of attitude, what I was making, and then there where those who did the buying that listened to those critics. A craftsman will labor till the day he//she dies, all the while seeking approval on two fronts, critic and buyer, and selling his wares according to those ‘others’ in his defined field of work.
What happened, well I opted out and decided to walk where gods and devils fear to tread, the road of imagination. Do I still listen to critics, yes and no, and I will try and explain.
When I decided to listen to my heart again, I found that my imagination returned in an instant or even more simply put, in the blinking of my eye as I once again soared out of the reaching opinions of my others and in this instant the artist was born. I have heard it said that the artist is a seer or prophet and this may be for those other artists. However from experience I have learned that when I am in ‘the process’ of creating and time is swallowed up as days become weeks, while on my shop door hangs the sign do not disturb, and at the end of a day when talking to no one other than the wood, that it becomes very easy to ramble as some madman. Even in the company of friends while I am in process there is still the do not disturb sign hanging on my face. This I call the fever of inspiration that comes from flying by seat of my pants in the blue sky of imagination. This is where the critic often can help keep me on track and even occasionally bring me back down to earth where I can once again dwell with men. Without the critic, my peers and the buyers of what I create, I would have no way of knowing the worth of my creations and no feedback to bounce off my ego. While the critic and my peers offer a critique of my work, I have also understood that I can accept what they give or chew the fat of their words and spit out the residue. No more do I need fear their words and just as well, since I often choose now to go my own way. Going ones own way will frustrate the critic since you have said in essence, I will listen, but understand that after I have listened I will then go and listen to my heart. Ha! Try telling that to a critic the next time they speak about your work and watch the expression in their eyes or read their words.
The public as buyers can also be an object to use for the critiquing of your work, although if your marketing skills are not up to date, the buyers or lack of buyers can give a false reading.
When it all comes down to where the rubber meets the road, understand that the artist is the one, who in the end, will listen to their heart and walk the road of imagination, a road that is absent of all previous footsteps and so there is no one to track.
You all have a very good day!!!
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/