Monday, February 27, 2012

Frowny Face

I’ve been crabby. This may come to a shock to some of you considering my usual up-beat and happy demeanor. I know it’s hard to imagine me without a pleasant smile gracing my blushing countenance. But it is true. I am crabby.

It started in earnest after watching a documentary about young painters and artists that rose to some success in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The documentary is called Beautiful Losers and it is magical.  These were the artists I could relate to. Their work was something I felt closely knit to. They’re artists of my generation who saw the world evolve at about the same pace as I did and they took what we all saw and made it art for the pure sake of art.  

It touched me and made me remember that I’m not really an insurance guy, that’s the secret identity Clark Kent outfit I wear. Underneath the dress pants and excellent phone skills lies the heart of an artist. An artist sort of fenced in a yard of words and personal limitations. It started to feel that I should take on a more artistic approach to the things and world around me. So I took a picture of my dirty dishes sitting in my sink. The plates are blue and orange against the stainless steel of the sink. There’s glasses filled with water and silverware poking and jutting out all over. The dishes aren’t all that dirty, no real stuck on food, but they are scattered and haphazardly placed waiting to be cleaned off and made fresh by the hot soapy water.

I felt the dishes were a lot like the world I inhabit. They’re a jumble of colors and spaces and angles. They’re just waiting to be cleaned off and given a fresh start and to fulfill their purpose. But art is always in the eye of the beholder and not everyone sees what I saw, most just saw a pile of dirty dishes and perhaps in the back of my head, so did I. And that made me crabby.  

I found it hard to get through the rest of my day thinking about the artistry I’ve ignored in my own life. That I’ve become complacent and de-motivated. That I’m not all that good of an artist or one that’ll have done anything or said anything that’ll be remembered or thought of or quoted or read to woo. It made me crabby.

I tried to tell myself that it’ll be alright. I just need to take a deep breath and remember that I’m not done yet. I’ve still time to make something of myself. I might still have something of value to say or contribute to the world, the mind, the heart.  That’s the struggle of all artists; I don’t know what I’m trying to say, or why I want to say it and I’m usually not sure the form it’ll take until all the letters and words are lined up on the page. But if I don’t do it I’ll dry up and blow away.

So if you see me with a frown it’s probably not because I’m upset about how uncomfortable my shoes are or the cyst that keeps appearing on my thigh. It’s likely because I’m trying to estimate my own value against the backdrop of the demands and expectations of others. Or that I’m just not pleased with the service. 


  1. The key to being less crabby - make more art.

  2. Or, you know, Make Bad Decisions
    (aka: get some)