is there such a thing as art coma?

I’ve seen a bit too much art, I think, lately that I’ve been stunned; left to become some sort of puddle of longing (to be able to make art) and strong feelings of inadequacy (as if I’m not good enough or deep enough to even dare to make something of equal measure). Is there such a thing as art coma? I think that’s what I am suffering from. I am capable of still contributing ideas and building other people’s ideas. It’s been happening lately; friends have asked me for my opinion on their individual projects and consulted me and asked for my opinion on their work and their projects. I still have it. I still have that capacity to look from the outside and bring in everything I’ve learned over the years and from other people and from the books I’ve read and bring it in to help people find their course.

Looking at an artwork my Dad made, using me as a model, and this is a photo of me at the opening of my Dad's show (photo taken by Wig Tysman) and I'm now thinking, I'm looking at myself suffering from art coma.

Looking at an artwork my Dad made, using me as a model, and this is a photo of me at the opening of my Dad’s show (photo taken by Wig Tysman) and I’m now thinking, I’m looking at myself suffering from art coma.

But for myself? I’m paralysed by the options right before me.

My daydreams are filled with me creating work for myself, on my own terms, and to finally break free and do something that puts my whole being on the line. I want it. But I’m also scared. I have been going to art exhibits, watching plays, watching work-in-progresses of contemporary dance shows, reading poetry, and watching some really excellent movies — including two art films — and I’m just feeling quite inadequate.

Mad Max: Fury Road was so gorgeous in its simplicity. How George Miller was able to accomplish such a tour de force with using the most sparse of narrative structures is beyond me. I don’t know if I have that sort of trust. It’s quite amazing, really.

Recently, I saw two dance pieces, works-in-progress, by choreographers and artists of Daloy Dance Company. Ea Torrado’s Unearthing and Delphine Buencamino’s Inter-act, were both so confident in their conceptualisation of the piece and so solid in the foundation of its idea that it was ready to face an audience even as it is still being developed. I am far from being in that stage just yet.

And even if I am, the feelings of doubt and insecurity weigh heavy on my back and it is leaving me utterly scared.

I saw Beyond the Black Rainbow over the weekend with my Dad and it’s a science fiction art house film that meanders in its story-telling but is an absolute visual treat. It takes forever to reach a level where a sense of story reveals itself but it is so confident in its pacing that it doesn’t rush its vision just to make it accessible. It demands to be taken on its own terms and not bending to the tastes of its viewers.

I use the word confidence/confident again on purpose. It’s something that’s sort of waning. I haven’t written a Twitter poem or an Instagram poem in a while. I thought it was because I had nothing to say; that I don’t have any strong impulse to react to anything, even personal.

But that’s not true. I’m still very passionate about things and I haven’t stopped thinking about life and the world and people and about being human. I still have a lot to say.

I am just feeling like I don’t have the skills good enough to articulate what I would want to say, not in the way that I’ve been exposed to recently. I’ve been watching so much and I’ve got so much more in the wings scheduled in the next few days and weeks. This is far from over and I don’t think decreasing my exposure to art will benefit me.

I think I just need to breathe; I just need to remember that the attempt is more important than the actual product. The product can be improved with time or it will lead to more attempts and eventually, I’ll get to where I want to.

The fear is just me. It’s all in my head. All I have to do is to choose to be more inspired than cowed by all that I see and experience.

2 thoughts on “is there such a thing as art coma?

  1. You’ve described the feeling really well. When I go to a gallery if I look at a quarter of what’s there I feel like I’ve been pummeled.

    Could you create an artwork that explores this feeling? I think you’ve circled your fear. Perhaps you could capture it.

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