Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Risk to Make Art

Well, two dear friends made me REALLY ... oh, not even angry ... just couldn't deal with them the other day (hello if your out there reading this... ). They got me through a very difficult time, which I needed in order to be where I am today, wherever that is?
Well, where am I? I've worked since I was a kid in a family business, while working at things I hoped would be meaningful, from law to music and photography - boat building, oh a few other things. Some work is simply work ... work in the family business. Some work is calling - art. Law can be art, when it is a calling to transcendent meanings - work in civil rights. Photography ... there is work, sitting behind a counter making passport photos - transcendent photography - making much less money to make photos which mean more than the little bit of news you are paid a small amount for reporting.
To make art you have to jump off the roof, stand in the middle of a highway, (for you kids out there who take things literally, no you don't ... this is metaphor). I had lunch with a dear, dear friend yesterday. This friend once inadvertently tossed a hand grenade into my life, for which I am in her debt. It hurt us both rather deeply, but it turned me around to return to photography, an art which once got burned out of my life. It gave me the courage to jump off the roof each time I raise a camera, and try to tell the real story there in the face of people often not happy to see a camera.
In the awful shock of the explosion and pain in the aftermath my greatest fear was that the friendship and love would be blown away. I don't think it was, the intensity was burned up, that was the blast powder in the grenade, but the love and friendship remains. That friend sometimes feels alone at the bottom of a well... Friend, I hope thee knows thee is not, I am one of those who will always go looking for a ladder for thee.
I've said here before, that there is no greater sin in the eyes of others than failure. Yet, to art is a make or break process. If the only sane path is to work at the riskless drone, then we will live in a world without art. There is the usual chicken and egg question, did art happen because the artist was the kicked to the curb outsider, the one who got handed the hand grenade, or was the artist kicked to the curb and handed a grenade because artists must be an outsider ... who knows? Why care?
This has been a month of being kicked in the teeth. One of these days soon, I will explain. At times like this, I need to vent, but I also need friends not to tell me walk away from my art, which though it does not pay well, takes work, as well as blood and pain. So I am not angry at the two of you, I just can't sit around being scolded ... just now. You can do so after the gallery opens... =)
My other friend ... thanks for lunch ... and thanks for the hand grenade, I owe thee a ladder.


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