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The Artist and the One Thing we must Find

Calling yourself an artist can be tantamount to self-ridicule these days. Especially if you grew up like I did, following the indie rock scene so closely. To see a musician declare themselves an artist, would be met with retorts from the likes of Gene Simmons of KISS “Oh, you’re an artist? Go paint my wall!”.

But Gene Simmons is an artist, and KISS do make art. Creativity of any kind is art. Business can be an art. Sport can be an art. So it should be of no shame to call yourself an artist, because you probably are one.

Art is difficult. I think what prevents people calling themselves an artist, is they don’t want to appear as serious or gloomy. And yet I admit that throwing yourself into an artistic project, can be frustrating and overwhelming.

I have been working on and off on a project since last March, a recreation of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and I am nearly at my wits end. In a nutshell, I visited the Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon last year, and had the idea of creating a picture that would present a vision of the Birthplace of how it looked on the day of Shakespeare’s birth. This would of course mean removing all the modern features, such as the fencing, banners, road paving and gutters etc.

It has been far more work than I anticipated. I took several pictures of the building and merged them together, as I often do, to create an HDR image. One of my many problems began, because like so many tourist attractions, there are always huge crowds of people outside taking many pictures up close of themselves and the building. I timed the pictures as best I could, but there was still people that had to be digitally removed, which created a few large gaps to fill.

With all the problems as well with removing the front fence, and making the surrounding area look less modern and more historical, I had decided that I had to finish the piece last weekend. It had gone on too long and I was sick of having an unfinished project.

Well, it’s still unfinished. Many hours spent adding to the picture and fixing it over the weekend, and I seem to keep finding more work to do. It must drive painters mad to finish a work. Surely they think ‘well I could try this, or maybe that would look better’. It’s no wonder some of them lose their mind, because it can become an obsession.

Luckily though, I did sleep well on Sunday night. I’ve learnt to find a little peace and remind myself that nothing has to be done or achieved. It doesn’t matter if it’s finished next weekend or the weekend after, life still goes on.

Inner peace is what I’m sure most people need these days. Turning off all the motivational noise that ‘I must become this, I must obtain that’ and just being at peace with the world:

“Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb. Don’t lose faith in your stars. You’re still alive, aren’t you?” – Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

I’m sure it’s the true path to happiness. And in fact the moments of happiness I have had recently have not been because I achieved or gained something, but because I let myself go of the need to be or do anything. That’s what inner peace is to me. If we can learn to do that regularly, there would be less need to find happiness.

The Artist

Today’s picture was taken in the coastal town of St. Tropez in the French Riviera. I never try to pry too much when I’m out and about taking pictures but I couldn’t resist wanting to get some head-on shots of this artist’s shop, down one of the narrow streets of St. Tropez. Like many wonderful towns and cities, the best shots to get are often down the little alleys, and off the beaten path away from the main attractions.

This is a single image with no special treatment done to it, only a slight vignette added to focus from the inside out.

Despite my earlier rant, I’m sure my Shakespeare picture is almost done, and will hopefully be on here within the next week.

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