On Making Art in Dark Times


If July 4th made me feel anything, it's that it's a dark time to be an American. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Without getting too deep into it, I think many of us feel this way. And when you're making art during a dark period, it's easy to question why you're doing it. What is the value of this work? How are all these drawings of teeth and eyeballs helping anybody?

As someone who thinks a lot about this, I had a small piece of encouragement from the Universe that I'll share with you here:

A print of mine was recently included in a show called Umbra: New Prints for a Dark Age. When I heard the name of this show, I actually shouted 'YES!' out loud like a nut. It was as if somebody named what I was feeling and put me in a bucket with a bunch of other people who were feeling the same way. Their experiences of 'darkness' may be quite different from my own, but the solidarity in that feeling made things instantly brighter. I was grateful for their work and for the curator's vision.

The point is this:

It's not your job to understand how the events of your life will shape you, it's your job to let them flow through you.

Make your work. Even if it seems unconnected to what's going on around you. It's not. Let wise friends, teachers, even a curious stranger mirror your work back to you so you can see more accurately what is there. Take this feedback and say 'Huh, interesting' and keep cultivating your voice. It's important. Because one day, your work will make some stranger feel like they have a friend in the dark.