A Snake Eating Its Own Tale
Photo by COPPERTIST WU / Unsplash

A Snake Eating Its Own Tale

Is an artist's work a reflection of his character? And is what we say about one also true of the other?

I don't know, but I have received some disingenuous feedback--often from people close to me. I can only imagine it stemmed from compassion. They didn't have the heart to tell me they didn't like something I made -- as though they were afraid that I might wrap my self-worth into what I create. They may be right.

After all, my experience frames every creative decision I make. And what am I outside of what I do? If a song, poem, photograph, or article can only ever achieve the shape or tone congruent with my talent, it reflects my abilities and limitations, yes? Of me? Of the confines of my worth as a human being, even? If so, and if you don't like the thing, maybe you don't like me. And as the lurking, inner-five-year-old me knows all too well, if I'm not likable, I may not survive! However, that's almost certainly placing too much emphasis on the importance of being liked.

Conversely, what someone thinks or feels about a work of art (or artist) probably says more about them than its creator. And you can't control that. Nor would you want to. Trying to elicit a specific feeling almost certainly subverts a potential subconscious expression into something manufactured -- from art to propaganda.

It's often felt like my relationship with my audience has been something of an Ouroboros. It's important to decouple the audience's reaction from the creative process, except deciphering others' thoughts is deeply anchored in what I've learned about survival.

Essentially, I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks, except I do.

I can find acceptance by being vulnerable or achieve nothing by remaining protectively silent. Somewhere in the middle, I focus on the work. I attempt to produce things at the crossroad of my talent and aesthetic inclination, come what may. And to continue to do so as long I find joy in it.