Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wall Slinging While Waiting for a Muse

There you sit waiting to be hit by a passing bus, a train or inspiration.

A full third of the stories you hear about art or artists hinge on the quest for inspiration.

Truth is most inspiration comes from the light bill. Yeppers most working artists have throughout history have sought just one thing what to do to get enough money to pay the light bill. Okay, okay so before ole Thomas the Wizard of West Orange they worried about getting enough gas or whale oil or bear fat to keep the lights on but the principal is the same, getting the bills paid. There is no reason or crime to it, it just happens.

Inspiration is a fickle thing, it comes and goes willy-nilly and there is no getting a handle on it, it is so mercurial that the ancients had a name for it, they claimed it came from a muse.

So artists could relax and take a deep breath, being stumped for what to do next was not their fault, it was just their muse taking a vacation.

Now that was fine in the beginning, what with all the time mammoth hunting and wolf fighting and dragon slaying and wife napping took, there wasn't a whole bunch of time for inspiration to come knocking so that was okay and if the muse took a week or two for a walkabout that was a good thing.

But as women started demanding more and more organization and order and things started getting all nice and neat and organized there came along a bunch of guys who thought, “Why should I go out in the cold and run through the woods risking life and limb when I could just stay in the cave and let the other guys do it.”

But the other guys weren't as dumb as all that and they knew that if a guy wasn't out hunting mammoths or fighting wolves here wasn't much left for him to do but wife nabbing and that was not an approved thing so they became suspicious of guys who wanted to lounge around the cave and the cave loungers discovered they'd better get a good excuse double quick so they thought and they thought and they said, “I don't have to go mammoth hunting or wolf slaying because I am doing something more important, I talk to God.”

Oh god, but who is that?

The cave loungers had to get a cover story pretty darned quick cause they weren't going to get that one past the hunters without a good cover so they worked and thought and they decided if they could predict the future and fell into trances and knew what the things that went bump in the night were they might convince the hunters.

Now all of this took a lot of time and while they were getting their story straight they painted on the walls of the cave so that they could explain their cover story to folks who just didn't visualize well and they worked hard at getting their story straight and in a few centurys they formed a bunch of guys who came from cave loungers and they called them priests.

Now the priests had all sorts of rules and stuff and some of the cave loungers didn't do all that well with rules, so they decided that they could talk to God and not be priests and they decided to become wall paint slinging guys. But you can see that that was awkward in a social setting so they just called themselves artists and kept slinging paint on the walls anyway.

Now this was okay, but the priests didn't much want to share their secrets of talking to God and the wall slingers didn't want to follow all of the rules so the two bunches of God-talkers didn't much get along. They didn't get along so much that they hated each other and they started to complain about each other and claim that they were the only ones who could really talk to God and they fought and a bunch of wall/paint/slingers got burnt at the stake cause they didn't much like the rules and they said so and the priests didn't like being contradicted so they burned the guys who complained the loudest.

And this went along for seven or eight hundred years until one day a guy saw the light and started the Renaissance. And once everyone got Renaissanced they started thinking maybe they should stop burning the guys who complained and put them to work making paintings on marble cave walls so that folks who couldn't visualize so well would see the light too.

But there was a big problem. If you ave been burning guys for seven or eight hundred years it is possible that they won't believe you or trust you and they won't paint your marble cave walls. So the priests had to think of something they could give the other guys which would make them want to paint marble cave walls and they thought and pondered and cogitated and they noticed that after being hunted and burned for seven or eight hundred years the wall slingers didn't have much and because they couldn't carry much while they were running and hiding they couldn't keep much and that made them poor and the priests said, “Let's give them money!”

Well that went over big and the slingers thought that they just might like painting marble walls and they took the money and started painting and when they ran out of walls, there being a limited number of walls needing painting, they started on the ceilings and that is why we have frescoes on the ceilings.

And for many years that worked out well until a guy called Lenin said, “God is dead.” and that made a huge crisis cause by this time there were a whole bunch of people who believed in God and they didn't want to quit but if God was dead who was going to talk to the wall slingers and tell them what to paint?

You can imagine this caused all sorts of problems. Without instructions from On High artists were left to do anything they wanted and they did and it was a huge mess what with one guy doing boats and one guy doing cars and one guy doing sports and a whole bunch of guys doing nekkid wimmen and one strange guy doing soup cans. It was pandemonium.

And that's the way it has been ever since, guys doing this and that and any old thing they want because they aren't getting instructions from ON High, their Muse is on vacation, the wishing well is dry, and that's where we are today. No one has the instruction book.

Now that is a pretty good deal in my opinion. I'm one of those wall slingers doing willy-nilly anything I can and I don't really like rigid rules and regulations and I don't wait around for my muse to come home so I'm okay with things as they stand now.

But what about you?

Are you listening to the wind hoping to hear the word spoken? Are you looking for a Muse or a stroke of genius?

It would be a shame to waste all of the hard won freedom that our wall slinging ancestors gave so much for. They did suffer and die so that we could do any silly ole thing we want and yet and whole bunch of us sit waiting for the RIGHT inspiration.

Don't do it. Get out there and make something happen today. There are two shows coming up with no jury to keep you at bay and if you haven't worked up your entry you should be ashamed.

There is so much to inspire any artist here every day, it would be a horrible mistake to let all those past wall slingers down. Get busy, get moving, get entered, inspiration is yours to discover not some gift which comes only to the privileged few.

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