“I work a lot but don’t seem to finish. That is, I hope what I am doing means something because I don’t know what I am doing. It’s strange and terrible but I feel calm. Today I worked non-stop for six hours on a sculpture and I don’t know what the result is… Planes upon planes, sections of muscles, of a face and then? And the total effect? Does what I create live? …” Umberto Boccioni 1912
“Io lavoro molto ma non concludo, mi sembra. Cioè spero che quello che faccio significhi qualche cosa perché non capisco cosa faccio. È strano ed è terribile ma sono calmo. Oggi ho lavorato sei ore consecutive alla scultura e non capisco il risultato… Piani su piani, sezioni di muscoli, di faccia e poi? E l’effetto totale? Vive ciò che creo?”
The problem I have is that painting with an exhibition in mind takes away my enjoyment of actually doing it. And I have tried to give myself deadlines, but have fallen short under the weight of marketing requests.
Every one of my works is an adventure I like to enjoy and make personal. It takes time and cannot be rushed. It is a moment of unique pleasure, the telling of an intimate story. I must paint knowing that the canvas I am working on is the true story I want to tell; selling or not is not the point. Not last, to think of my work towards an exhibition restricts me to the market’s requests and trends [this will never sell.. the gallery won’t show that…] or rush up works because the deadline is near. As a consequence the work I end up making may be soulless or incomplete and ultimately I will regret showing it. It has happened and I have learned not to do it again. Hence, I refrain to commit to dates until I know I have a good number of canvases finished already.
At times I just like to make drawings, or little sketchy paintings… or sit there and do nothing. Funny how some people think the life of an artist is made of leisure and beauty, wine drinking and intimate sessions with beautiful models. Well, there’s bills to pay, drawings that ‘don’t work’ and days of non inspiration… but all this IS part of the creative process and must be savoured. I like the sense of freedom I get from knowing that what I’m working on is the true expression of my artistic experience.
So, to answer the question I have started with…
“I am working towards an exhibition, yes, but am not ready to fix the date yet…”
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Tant’è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch’i’ vi trovai,
dirò de l’altre cose ch’i’ v’ho scorte.
Io non so ben ridir com’i’ v’intrai,
tant’era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai.
. . .
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.