To borrow from two highly over used cliches for the last six months or so I've been standing at the crossroads, staring into the abyss. It's been like something has had a very strong grip on my psyche and won't let it go. For the very first time in my 30 or so years of creating Art, I've seriously contemplated quitting it.
Yikes, I feel like throwing up just writing those words. But unfortunately that's what's been going on with me and I find it difficult to even write this because it's all so very close. I've been trying to figure out why this happening but I haven't been able to come up with much.At first I thought it was because I've been struggling financially lately but truth be told, I realized a long time ago that choosing to be a self taught, freelance, scrap metal sculptor would have its financial ups and downs.
I've always understood and accepted that as part of it. It sure doesn't make my life easy but I've accepted that it's the price you pay for having the cajones to follow your bliss.
I'm not a 'material' oriented person by nature, never have been and I am very comfortable living a rather spare existence, so for me its a trade off I'd make over and over again. I love what I do and like living simply and close to the earth which rewards me big but not in ways many banks can understand. So be it, life is short and somehow I manage to survive by doing what I want.
I thought about pulling up my stakes and moving on to 'somewhere else' in an attempt to awaken a new energy within me and I even seriously explored several possibilities. But after looking around and talking to several interesting people, I'm old enough to know that the grass is seldom if ever, greener on the other side of the fence. Plus I realized that I still haven't lost the great energy and excitement I find in starting a new sculpture. It's the one thing that no matter how I'm feeling seems to override everything else going on with me... and I'm truly grateful for that.
So relocating isn't the answer, I have a wonderfully historic little place to live and work right here and I would be crazy to give it up. I understand my body is aging and after years of working like a maniac, seriously I work all the time and have for years, I worry that increasingly I'm physically unable to keep pace with my still quite lively imagination and I'm just now at the point of being able to come to terms with that. I hate it too, because my skills have never been more honed than they are right now and I still have at least million pieces of Art cataloged in my mind yet to create.
Maybe it's the realization that I'll never get to all of them that's bothering me but I mean whatta ya gonna do? Right? Everyone has to face that reality somewhere along the line and I feel very fortunate to have been able to create everything I have. And overall, I'm still extremely healthy, just a bit worn down.
My first reaction to these feelings was to get very angry, which I guess is common but then that anger turned inside and I began to feel a sense of defeat, for the first time ever.
I mean that's just not me, my motto has always been "Tenacity through patient persistence" and that's worked out really well, not to mention that I'm a tough old dog and much too ornery to give up on anything. It's just that for the first time ever I'm wondering why those solid foundations of my being have come into question and frankly, I don't like it.
The good news is I've recently seen a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm happy to report that I don't think it's an oncoming train but, you know, who can say for sure.
I will say that I've come to realize just how important my true friends are and for the fact that I've been constantly working, I'm just now beginning to understand who my true friends really are. And I cherish those bonds, because in the end that might be the most important thing of all.
The other thing I've come to realize is that I could never quit making my Art, even if I wanted to. I am unable to separate myself from it because I am it. I don't do my art, I be it. It is the sum of what and who I am and without it I would be lost finished and done.
So I'm just putting one foot in front of the other for now and concentrating on that simple winning formula. And it's working. I have some new proposals in for several really interesting projects and if they happen to come to fruition, I know without a doubt that my creative fires will rage once again. And if they don't, well .... one thing at a time. I have found quite a bit of comfort and healing in listening to my Blues music. Not mine per say, but the artists who speak to me and I don't think there is anything that brings me more strength right now than working on their portrait pieces. So for now, that's exactly what I'm going to do and hopefully the storm is about to pass.
-Scott Cawood