Johan Marais-Piper

πŸ‘πŸ‘Ž

I like to measure things. No, not like that.

You see, I have a terrible metric when looking at art, especially when it’s my own. I am a creative, like a proud peacock showing off my plumage, I express myself and I can’t help it, it’s in my DNA man. And, it feels good.

Mostly.

What makes this creative process sticky and more complicated than a 16 box sudoku is that I usually have to wrestle with internal demons along the way. If the finished artwork is the princess, self doubt is the dragon I have to slay to get there.

Usually what happens is that when I finish making something, that piece of art is then at the mercy of the judge β€” my ego. A thumbs up and I share it online, a pollice verso and it hides in a sub-sub-subfolder somewhere.. I don’t even give the artwork the respect of giving it a name (it’s easier that way).

That metric I was talking about? It’s having a binary view of good or bad artwork. Show-off or hide away. This will make people like me more, or, this will make people think less of me. Geez, talk about toxic self talk.

See, the difference with me
When I do what I do
I do what I’m doing
But I’m doing it like I’m doing it for TV
β€” Ma$e

The surprising thing is that I see this in my five year old too and it pains me to see him struggle through the same thing. As an outsider I see that this filter gets in the way of creating a historical artifact. I see him draw something and then say “I don’t like it” then start scrawling over it in disgust. Boy, what you just created is a snapshot of this very moment of your life β€” of your interest, your emotions, your point of view β€” and you willingly destroy it?! You know how valuable that is? I want to remember this, I want to remember you like this.

The pain for me is two fold. One, to see my son fighting internal battles so early and, two, seeing this artifact of history being thrown in the trash. He won’t be this little forever and this is a snippet of him I want to look back on.

OK then hypocrite” β€” I say to myself β€” why do you destroy your artworks? Or even worse, why do you let them live but not show them to others. There are four hard drives worth of songs, drawings, poems, stories, laying there collecting dust in the garage.

Sadly to that I don’t have a better answer than to say ”Because it’s not me” or rather “it’s not the me I want to portray”. And so I kidnap the art and lock it up in the dungeon that is my portable hard drive so that one day, maybe, my son will stumble upon them. He’ll look through it and say to me “Dad, why did you never show me these?!”


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