Art Attack – Is that all there is to an art show?
“Is that all there is, is that all there is If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing Let’s break out the booze and have a ball. If that’s all there is.”
Cue the Peggy Lee. It happens every time – the deep funk one goes into after an art show – and time, it seems, is the only thing that can pull you out of it.
I’ve talked to many artists who have gone through the same emotion – that sinking low after the extreme high and intense focus of getting a body of work ready for the public.
There is no logic to this pattern. Depression hits despite critical or commercial success and can escalate when something like a terrorist bomb goes off. It’s the heartbreak you feel for victims and families combined with deep-rooted guilt for feeling the way you feel about your “silly art show” when so many are far worse off than you.
It’s not feeling sorry for one’s self or self pity – it’s more akin to Postpartum, or PostpARTum, depression after the baby or art piece is birthed.
I’ve learned over the years to say yes to these feelings, to not wallow in them, but to feel them with the comfort of knowing they are temporary. One waits it out, feels better and starts the creative process over again.
Peggy Lee’s 1969 hit, “Is That All There Is?” (for those under 40 – PJ Harvey does a killer cover) is an existential, somewhat cynical song about a woman’s outlook on the supposedly life altering events – the circus as a child– the fire that destroys her home – her first love… it’s a song we can all identify with – disappointment, disillusionment and let’s have another round of drinks and keep trudging forward.
The song especially speaks to artists, addressing the questions of why we continue to pick up the paintbrush, strum that guitar or put down those words. Does our desperate need to keep creating have something to do with the song’s last verse – that we’re “not ready for that final disappointment” – or is that sense of fatalism just another symptom of the post art show blues?
Thanks to all who came by my store for their artist MUG shot – and all is forgiven to those who promised to show up but didn’t quite make it before deadline. The poster using all the images is at the printer and the individual 3×4 ft. portraits will be ready to hang April 30, which brings me to this plea for help.
We need a large group of volunteers who can help slap and wallpaper these portraits up on the brick walls around town. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to help.
And a reminder of the May 1 MUGS poster launch and artist gathering open to the public at the Queen Anne Mansion starting at 4:30.
And go to creativeenergyproject.com for a sneak peek at some of the MUG shots on line and to view the short but very funny MUGS and SPHERES promo videos.