Hello Everyone! It's been, well, quite a while since my last post (some raving a bout a fabulous show that will tragically be closing next month). My art and writing have been slow over the past few months, and whether or not I blame a poor diet, lack of sleep, or Mercury being in retrograde, nothing was made. Well, not nothing, but I definitely consumed culture more than produced it. I was desperately trying to find some way to use my art as a lens for my life, to reflect my reality, but I recently came into problems with that approach. So, I'm pulling an Oscar Wilde quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray, "We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography."
But what does that mean? Yes, art reflects life and visa versa, and my work has almost always dealt with my sexuality, gender, and an exploration of that personal history by relating to other creators. It is a reality, but it's not just an autobiography. And sure, Wilde's work was somewhat confessional (you gotta love a guilty Catholic), and incriminating (literally, quotes were pulled from The Picture of Dorian Gray as proof of his homosexuality while he was in court), but it played into larger themes of desire, morality, art, and cute boys. I've tried to identify themes in my work, such as atemporality and allegories, but I was missing a crucial component: writing!
I don't mean writing as in my blogging and what other ramblings pass through my mind and tap dance their way across my keyboard, but rather, poetry. I haven't composed poetry by any means since my sophomore year of college (shoutout to the Belles Lettres society for weekly prompts and Caf dinners), but as of this November that has changed! Like Tennyson, Wilde, Dickinson, Plath, and Angelou I have taken up the pen to put my thoughts and dreams on paper. Of course, I have a long way to go, and by no means plan to make a life for myself as a great poet (that takes training I do not possess), but there is a strong relationship between my visual art and my literary/creative writing. My senior year was spent on two senior seminars for English and Studio Art, and almost everything I read and wrote influenced my studio practice. Both theses were explorations of queer lineage, and art was a way of illustrating my literary studies.
The challenge now is, what do I write about? For a while I struggled to think of some poignant subject matter with which to craft my poetry, something that would elicit visceral responses from an audience. However, that's not why I started writing. I want it to be a means of self-reflection, but also an exploration of mythologies and queer lineages, and of fantasies. I'm not writing to learn to think, although that is something I am not yet accomplished in, but rather to dream. Okay, I know that sounds pretentious, but I meant it. My writing should be enjoyable, and while it can explore a myriad of themes and perhaps even some proper thinking. For now I just need to write about whatever comes to mind, for pleasure, for myself, and for art's sake.
In ending this post I'd like to turn to my most popular subject matter: mythology. Thankfully, the Greeks, among many other cultures, have given us a vast amount of queer subject matter (an artist, turn to Greek mythology? How original). Narcissus is a popular tale, as portrayed in above painting by Caravaggio, and has a long history with queer creators (Wilde was portrayed as a vain Narcissus in political cartoons of the time), thus I focused on the tragic youth and his relationships for one of my first poems, Ameinias Echo, the title of which is borrowed from the names of two figures associated with the youth's tale. Echo was a nymph who pined for Narcissus, but could not talk with him due to a curse placed upon her by Hera. Ameinias was a former lover of Narcissus, whose cruelty cause him to commit suicide (which is sometimes seen as a cause of Narcissus's punishment).
Here are a couple of stanzas from Ameinias Echo:
I sometimes wonder how long I’ve been here
underneath this canopy of silver shadows,
tucked away in some blessed, forbidden corner
of the world, but then I see you
gazing upon me as we admire each other
in our most resplendent ways.
I am so glad you came to see me.
How on earth could I compare you
to a spring morning or the wild dance
of the leaves in the afternoon breeze
kissed by Zephyr as I would kiss you
now? You are the world’s greatest creation.
You’re the only one right for me.
Until next time!
Open your mind, be brave, and be kind.
To See With One's Body and Soul
This blog documents all of my adventures, as well as my development into an artist, writer, and a better person.