Afraid of My Shadow

One advantage of using sketchbooks since I was a teenager, I can look back and see where I was at different times. The pages above are from my last semester at College. I was 23 and planning my year away to study in Europe on a Greenshield's Grant. I needed to see this twentysomethings drawings and words today. I was looking for the scent of fear. I was curious to see if this younger version of myself could give me an insight into the fear I see in many young artists today. Fear is the worst thing that can happen to an artist. I don't mean the sensible dread that comes with any form of real threat, or the fear of making your rent payment. I'm talking about the fear that comes from being exposed to something unfamiliar, being asked to step outside the carefully constructed coccoon of your highly crafted 'Work' and actually risking something.

What is really at risk in the territory of the new is the carefully constructed sense of self we have glued together through heroic acts of cross hatching and death defying leaps of colour mixing. Is the value of the work measured by how clearly it resembles it's source or how cool the style is? We have only to post the images to receive a congratulatory thumbs up.

But what if you were also interested in growing the person that makes the work, to turn the equation around and not see the work as you, but rather see you as the work. Risk, exploration and constant growth would make some sense then.

So, I was happy to see that the 23 year old in the sketchbook was all about asking questions of the work and not looking for answers from well-meaning friends.