Yesterday morning the Roxy theatre in Edmonton, Alberta burned down. All day I was reminded of those summer days when I was living in Edmonton and attending University; and of when I was selected for the poster art for the Nextfest arts festival in 2003, which was run out of the Roxy. I realized that the last place I saw my 3 paintings, after they were purchased for the poster art, was hanging in the stairwell going to the second level of the Roxy. I don’t know if they were still there, or packed away, or long gone, but that doesn’t really bother me. I remember how obsessed I used to be with archival quality, and making things last. There was an urgency about everything, and everything felt like a big deal. That Dayna would never have believed that one day she would be making art with sharpies. Maybe I am getting old, or my values have changed, or maybe I am finally starting to not care so much about things that don’t really matter. Or maybe I have realized that I probably won’t ever “make it”–at least not in the way that I used to think I would.
I was reading through blogs that I follow, catching up with everything I missed the last month, and one blogger/writer, Christian Mihai, wrote:
“What people never seem to understand is that success it’s not about never failing. It’s about not quitting. It’s about keeping at it, regardless of the consequences.” (read the post here).
I keep coming across this sentiment, maybe because it speaks to me right now. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, when everything you do seems mundane and a bit pointless, but doing nothing is right out of the question. Even talking like this about myself seems a bit pointless when there are 15 people from the Roxy who are out of the job, and a major venue for the Edmonton arts scene is gone.
There is almost too much going on in the world that I can’t think about. I feel guilty posting happy little paintings when there are major world events happening that should be taking precedence, but I just don’t know what to do. I am torn between letting it all get to me and doing nothing, or trying to contribute something good to the world in the best way I know how.
Another blogger/writer, Shawna Lemay, once included this quote by Gertude Stein, and it has been above my studio desk ever since:
“The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”
So I will keep at it–this is my job–and I think I just at this moment fully understand the recent success of the “Keep Calm” meme.