The other day I was discussing my latest exhibition over dinner with friends. Their comments fascinated me because it summed up some of the issues I am currently facing with my work. You see, I have two very disparate styles and visions with my work – the body beautiful and the body grotesque. The comments I have received from different people seem to fall within the two camps. some people enjoy the exploration that all women are beautiful and sensual while others love the heavily psychological works. Some have said that my work is too psychological and disturbing while others have said that it is too light and not deep enough.
The trick, with all paintings, is to find true inspiration and that special zone that takes control of the brush to release something special onto the canvas. Sometimes I am inspired by a challenge and opportunity to paint something I’ve never done before, sometimes it’s a fun pose I’ve thought up that I want to try or a concept I want to get across. But sometimes, something deep within me needs to get out. That is the hardest of all, because it requires absolute honesty and courage. The results are usually worth it, but coping with it is hard to do. I think those are the best paintings of all – but the cost is high. Most of them are grotesque, because there is a lot of grotesque in me. I like to think that the beautiful comes from me too, but sometimes I am afraid they come from who I want to be rather than who I am.
So, which is better? I think there is room for both, the grotesque works are less likely to sell, but more appealing to the art critics and museums (and, she whispers, posterity?), while the beautiful works are the opposite. ideally, merging the two would be the goal – creating something so wrong it’s right – but I don’t think I’m there yet. I think there is room for a show to have both beautiful and grotesque works, dark and uplifting. and perhaps achieving the correct balance is the key. I am continuing to work with what inspires me most, taking each work as it comes. I get so easily caught up in what I think people want, or what the theme of the show is, or a million other things – maybe what I really need to do is release my worries about being judged and just create.
That’s harder than it sounds.