TREADWELL garnered two award nominations, so I believe this is true.
Last night I wrote a proposed blog post. It was good but it wasn’t great. Too much trepidation. Too many questions. Not enough umph. Not enough confidence. Just a meandering of what ifs, doubts and… questions.
So let me whittle it down. I asked why you willingly grant me support, encouragement and favour. The answer was not easy.
At first I thought that it was the human need for community, or a quantum interconnectedness. But it wasn’t complete.
Finally I landed on it. Alchemy. That together as creator and reader, we are making pages and exchanging energies through the pages I draw for you. We are in this together. My past affecting your future. Your future affecting my past. Like magic.
This magic connects us. I do not create [write, draw, design] in a void. We are part of a continuum.
I thought for a long time that I would create no matter what, even if I was the last man on Earth. But I have come to realise that there would be no point. That I create because there are readers. Either now or in the future.
A personal creation, something outside of state or church, is a very recent thing. Say the last 500 years or so. Nowadays, art is co-opted by big business, say the last 300 years or so. And yet personal creation thrives. For the last 100 to 200 years, artists have been set completely free. Free of the rich. Free of academia. Free to live like an animal in the wild. Free to move us, from heart to heart, without the interim of a gatekeeper.
Thanks to the web, we are now banding together, free, strong, able to affect the world with only our souls to guide us. And we don’t do it for approval. We do it for revolution. To change the way we see things. To change the world.
This makes us dangerous to the bigots of this world, those who would control everything.
I predict that within a hundred years, we free artists will be corralled and taken advantage of if we are not vigilant. Our minds are already pretty much at the whim of a spectacle put on by the super rich. They control our food, our entertainment, our governments and assail our religions. But they do not control our souls, and this drives them crazy, looking for, year by year, a way to colonise our spirit. We must not let them. Ever.
The artist is free after millennia of sculpting tyrants, painting fantasies for emperors and kings. Some artists still do. But it is a dying tradition. We love freedom too much. We just could not handle being in a cage anymore. I sure could not.
For twenty years, I drew what people asked me to. Designed logos and business cards. It was my job, I get it. But when I started publishing my own works, I realised I could create free of all of that. I don’t think I could ever go back. The constraints made me a better artist, technically, but now the freedom makes me a true artist, whether we like that term or not.
But this new tradition must persist despite opposition. Despite an evil that wants to control it.
You read because your mind and heart move you to do so. It’s the same with making a book. It is a continuum based on the hope that we can affect and be affected.
We must not lose this. Ever. Our favourite storybook heroes are brave. We must be brave also. In our choices. In our desires, in our wish for a better world. And we can make a better world. Books, education, storytelling and art help in this regard.
And it may not be us on the front lines of an eventual battle for our souls. Therefore we must lay the land for it, and tip the scales in our favour.
We must win. Our soul is in the balance.
Which reminds me… my dear friend J.F. Martel recently wrote a book that speaks to some of the themes above. You should read it. It is called Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice. It is an amazing account of the battleground that is art. It is an amazing read, highly recommended for the practitioner, the appreciator and the academic. It is beautifully written and speaks to a truth we often take for granted.
Ottawa, Canada. :)