When someone lays their soul bare in front of you, without conceit or pretension, just lays it there for the taking, they demand your attention, in their raw bravery, they somehow speak for - and to - us all.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation from a new friend to go hear John Gorka play. You’ve probably never heard of him, since he’s a folk singer, and folk singers rarely have hit songs. Gorka is an awkward and shy fellow, but that’s part of his charm. He’s found a way to sprinkle that with a healthy dose of humor, and it works for him. He took a potential weakness and made it a strength.
We were lucky enough to get front row seats, and it was like having a private concert in my living room. Sitting and listening to his songs, the very personal lyrics, and the banter in between, I was struck by one thing. Many of us, as artists, are highly personal in our art - in hopes that the personal finds its way to striking universal chords. We put down in words, or music, or paint, those things which sit at our core. And, we share them. With complete strangers. Who does that? If someone at the bus stop did that you’d most likely move as far away as you could get, while watching closely for overt signs of crazy in their eyes. Normal people don’t do this. Where would we be without the pioneers of the abnormal? They connect us and open our hearts and eyes. They, quite simply, make magic.
Artists tell stories. Our stories. Even when they are other people’s stories, they are ours, because they are told through the lens of our perceptions and frame of reference. Its personal. The audience now feels like they know these stories, and thus, know the artist. Whether this is true or not, is nearly immaterial, because the bond that happens - even if its just for a couple hours while a troubadour sings - is real. Humans crave connection. Artists facilitate a safe place for that to happen.
When you lay it all bare, that’s when things become interesting.
My own work continues to evolve and grow. I’m currently hard at work on a secret series, which I am not yet ready to unveil. I’ve also been creating some lovely abstracts which are blurring the lines between internal and external landscapes. More to come soon. Much, much more.
I wish you bravery and beautiful colors,