Even Here We Are

even here we are 850

It's a beautiful flower in your garden
But the most beautiful by far
Is the one growing wild in the garbage dump
Even here, even here we are

by Paul Westerberg

This title and lyric has long been on my mind as a concept for an image, but the pieces needed for it never seemed to line up until now. Sometimes things come to you or come back to you seemingly out of nowhere and inform what you are working on. This seems to be the case here. The "garbage dump" I have been in has been a wasteland of artistic blockage for some time now. Life gets in the way, depression can stop short momentum, doubt can unhinge the most ironclad resolutions.


In other words, I have been questioning what I do and how I do it. This is not to say I am down on it, or frustrated by it, but restlessness within one's process is natural, and it is often advisable to pay attention to it. Long periods of emptiness have come this year, but it is also a natural result of pushing the art against its own pace, of insisting on output when a time of dormancy is wise. This year, for a variety of reasons, I decided to create a little less, and by doing so, increase the personal value of each completed piece. This may have been the least productive year I have had in terms of sheer output, but the potency of them was amplified, at least for me. They were each more satisfying for me.

Being after all a human being with the requisite ego that comes with that status, I did succumb to doubt, to fear, to impatience at not being artistically active for most of the last few months. I feel better creating, I feel more settled. No ideas would come though, or very few, and some time was spent contemplating what it was I wanted to convey and how I might do it.There are very few ideas that compel me strongly - this medium tends to generate a lot of repetition amongst the individual artists as well as the community overall.

When I visited Salton Sea earlier this year I knew there was a lot of story to be gathered there. Wastelands, ruins, ghost towns, a stillness and perhaps a sadness is easily felt there. A far better "garbage dump" than I imagined for this image. Being too literal with it would somehow limit the metaphorical potential. This ghost town is far more suited to an artistic wasteland, a lull in creative energy made manifest. Putting a man in the image to represent the artist, or me, gave me most of what I needed for the concept to be satisfied. Adding a touch of growth emanating from the man, in this place were nothing can grow, made it complete.

Waiting for this image to happen naturally on its own time was certainly not easy, but the completion of it, the lyrics, and the meaning behind them all became more potent for the waiting. It reminded me that the artistic desire, the need to create, the ability to create never really dies. It will prosper and live in even the lowest places and periods in your life.