I have struggled for a long time with the desire for recognition. This is due partly to the fact that I hold no degree. I have passed no test, have been held only to the rigors of motherhood and mirror. I have felt the need to prove myself, to make my way, to build a tower of accomplishment. At the root of that desire was the need to know that my work was worth something. And even deeper still, that I am worth something.
But nearly every endeavor I have pursued has required a shift from the state of being that inspires me, enfolds me in its magic, makes me wild with knowing. Certainly there have been moments when others have let me know how deeply my work has touched them. These are profound and deeply humbling moments. But mostly the work of getting my work out there takes me away from the source of my creative urge, away from my deepest self and into things that do not fulfill me.
My career as an artist has always been a bit off mainstream. I deplore competitions. I am disheartened that art is so expensive that many people who love my work could never even dream of purchasing one of my pieces, so I have stayed away from galleries. And then there’s the whole “art is business” idea to begin with. Art isn’t business. It’s essence and power are beyond the sphere of the capitalist. It’s not something to own, it’s something to experience. It is sacred, magical stuff.
For the past two years I have sold prints of my work, made cards, boxed up stationary, stapled together chapbooks. I have amassed an incredible amount of fine paper and a small tower of slightly imperfect cards. Envelopes, stationary boxes, labels. I purchased a craft fair tent and card racks, folding walls for display and more picture frames than I care to count. Hooks, picture wire, screw eyes, glue. Brochures. Artist’s statements. I have done the business of art. I have made my work accessible to all. I have made money, and I have spread my work. And I am done with it.
Instead there are paintings gestating within my belly. They are so powerful that their kicks and turns pull my attention inward, deeply so, to the ocean within myself. The sea of creation that is immense and uncharted, and within. The work of birthing them draws near.
Recognition does not matter to me now. I am unattached to marketing my work, getting my name out there, becoming known. I want to know what sleeps within me. I want to birth it into wakefulness. Who can put a price on that? Who can recognize that, but me?