One thing to keep in mind when going to NYC, is to saunter down Fifth Avenue but take a break at 88th Street and look ahead instead of up. You are in for a great surprise. You are looking at one of the many architectural wonders of the world. The Guggenheim museum. The architect was Frank Lloyd Wright who was 76 years old when starting to design buildings. He was 92 when he attended the museum’s opening. His creative optimism and output increased with age. So did the quality of his work.
Not that I have ever visited the US let alone that wonderful city of NY. I do still have hope that one day I will. There is something mesmerizing about a country of such contradictions. The enormous social inequality together with its much heralded dogma that America stands and believes in opportunity for all to become winners and successful, yet, millions live in abject poverty, with its obscene wealth in the hands of a few.
Against that they have Frank Lloyd Wright, Jackson Pollock, glorious music, painters, writers… and New York City. The very best anywhere.
While processing powers might slow with age, creative output seems to get enhanced in many artists. I don’t want to boost and bang on about creativity, but there wasn’t much else that I ever wanted to do but make things, either in material or by using words. Of course, my creativity wasn’t as urgent or as selfish that I also did not feel a need to earn the mulla in order to feed and house my family. I know that some that are really driven to creative expression don’t care if all goes to Braidwood Broke, but I was never in that league. Even so, earning money gets in the way if it also means ditching what you feel so strong about. A compromise is the only solution. Or is it?
Not for everyone though. I have always been fascinated about how that rare breed of artists that have managed to do and create art and have a domestic life. How do they manage and pay the bills?
Mind you, there are probably more stories about artists’ broken and chaotic lives littered with the carcases of broken relationships than ones about calm and happy families and their creativity still at the fore. Drama after drama seems to be the rigour for most artists. One only has to read the biographies of artists to really find out the struggles of their lives weathering many storms and tempests only to be cast upon the rocks of bitter disputes with shards of loves lived and left on desolate shores towards their final salt encrusted flotsam.
Artists from day one seem destined to either walk from one to the other catastrophe or chuck it in and get a job as an articled clerk or buyer for Walmart, at best destined to become a Window dresser fiddling with shop window’s dummy thighs, plastic-cast breasts, while dreaming of love and lust within the confines of a softness of real flesh and generous yielding thighs.
Even though I compromised and earned a living while also doing ‘art’ in leaps and bounds, my creativity can only be seen as spectacularly failing in having earned financial rewards nor much recognition. I was lucky having never heeded to much gloom or the creed of failure that implies money as the sole arbiter of success or indeed fame and recognition.
I enjoy the ‘doing’ and I get even more of a curmudgeon and impossible to live with, if a day or so goes by and I haven’t done something. It eases the pain or at least the frustration that wasting time brings. It also is of enormous consolation to realize that old Vincent never sold a single painting and for that he cut off his ear. The doing is the reward. Nothing or nobody can take that away.