An Artist's Statement

By Geoff Hobart

Creativity seems like a horrible, fickle, and ethereal thing. It's seen as a mystical force: a divinity that exists outside of the physical or spiritual. A powerful magic that grips only the hearts of those incredible beings that are capable of channeling that energy. Artists.

This isn't a particularly new attitude. The act of creation is held in such reverence that many creative professionals or people like myself, who are only artists in self-proclamation, treat their work with superstition and fear, as if the slightest misstep will sever the connection to the higher planes of Platonic beauty. They develop elaborate rituals, superstitions, beliefs and behaviors in an attempt to maintain a connection with and pay tribute to the self-created gods of their work.

I participated in all of it. All of the reverence. All of the awe. All of the posturing. And, most importantly, all of the fear. As an un-established artist (who at this point is nearly 30 years old and still unpublished) this was probably the most detrimental attitude to develop. It is paralyzing, and it isn't true. Talent is talent, and whatever your talent is, whether it’s bagging groceries, fixing carburetors, or drawing pictures, you should do it to the best of your ability. Your work is a projection of your talent combined with your determination and work ethic. Anything beyond that core belief is just chaff.

Attaching spiritual and mystical ideals to your work takes the task out of your hands. It makes you feel like you aren't the master of your own fate. This can be incredibly comforting because it alleviates you of all of the responsibilities and hardships of trying to dig out every aspect of yourself and transform it into a physical form for you and the entire world to see, warts and all. Maintaining a distance seems easier than examining and accepting yourself.

But the distance makes it seem like you can't pick up a pencil and do your work without some sort of planetary alignment. It feels like we are not the ones who are controlling the workflow. We become subject to unseen taskmasters and only produce work when we feel "allowed" to do it.

If artists are going to call the things we create "works," then they should be seen as work. Work comes from the head, the hands, and the heart. The head invents the task, the hands create the work, the heart makes the work good. I prefer to place my successes and my failures in my own care. I am the reason that creativity is fickle, horrible, and ethereal because it is a projection of myself. I am only human.