My relationship with art has been a broken one. Creativity can be torturous or abusive as quickly as it can be redemptive and I have many times been mid-project and found myself on the bad side of art. In the year since my graduation I have struggled to heal up that relationship, unsure of what had gone wrong. The other day I was provided with some perspective on my situation. An acquaintance pointed out that a sense of personal agency is integral to any sort of creativity and it seemed mine was all dried up. Personal agency refers to a person's capacity to act on the world and it is one of the most fulfilling qualities of art to an artist. When we act out of duty because an action is what we are supposed to do, we are robbed of our sense of agency. Without agency, the excitement that accompanies choosing a direction out of our own desires and dreams gets up and leave us, along with any sense of control or belief that our actions matter. If as an artist, I don't believe in the importance of one person acting in the world, making anything for its own sake quickly devolves into senselessness. Unfortunately, while a fine arts education does many positive things, it does not teach much about agency. You make piles of work and grow ideas, yet there will always be a grade, a pass-fail, a looming expectation and while all of these things are inherent of an academic institution they foster a sense of duty rather than a sense of personal fulfillment and voice.
My mantra this week is this: find a truth about yourself and live it out without need for permission or expectation towards the end results. Fall into the process of living, and making. See where it takes you. It is hard to speak if you don't believe that you deserve to be heard.