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The Artist’s Being

By Lizet Benrey

Many times I ask myself what is being an artist, a way of living, a mission, a gift that only humans enjoy, the projection of this gift of creativity of imagination?

Do we choose art as our project of life, or does it choose us? Are we creators or re-creators? And when we stop creating are we no longer artists?

An artist is one who communicates and conceptualizes, that one being who is profoundly sensitive, who abstracts from reality and creates with his/her work a new universe, beyond any formal language, beyond the familiar, beyond what’s been seen, read, listened to, or felt. An artist is that one who expresses unique realities.

The creation of an art piece generally starts with the birth of an idea. Then comes the inspiration, a word that relates to that one moment full of magic inhabited by the muses, that which makes us vibrate, that which seduces us, and takes us by the hand to that one place where everything happens, where it takes physical form and shapes, that unique reality which comes from the unconscious, sometimes from the irrational. The creative process of course is not always like such, nor in that order, at least not for me. Who is the being of an artist? The one who invade us, who possesses us who call us shouting when we are not paying attention? Could it be skill or the natural capacity to produce art, maybe that which demands its development that that which resists to cease to exist? Could it be talent, inseparable mate of the thirsty impulse, hungry controlling which forces to obey its mandate, which dominates, which obligates, one which as it grows demands more? Could it be the one that converts into a mandate when it is ignored and into a blessing when its longed for? Could it be the necessity of recognition, the great illusion, being part of the change, the possibility of participation in the betterment of humanity, and for the genius the being of superiority and with its profound influence on society? Maybe it’s a mixture of everything mentioned, but I know however that based on my experience, the voice of art can be heard clear and sound, vibrant, like the speech of a loved one, although not always desired. It’s calling is powerful and envelops me, but its words are not always familiar. It’s my own essence, which convokes my artist being.

All of a sudden I begin to listen to the silence, that special silence, dense, humid, warm, alienating, seductive, that stillness that rips me away from this life and takes me to that state of meditation. The sound of silence starts little by little, crawling slowly turning off the voices of the every day life of the mundane, silencing the words until it vanishes my most loved ones. That silence wraps me protects me, sometimes subtlety, sometimes furiously, like the sound of lightning or the passion of a desperate lover.

I become an observer of life, a bit distant, even cold. I go from being completely engaged to a distant presence. The rejection to what’s around me begins, to the conventional, to everything that distracts me. The interest to the ordinary transforms into absence, into something blurry, insipid, languid, monotonous, gray, chaotic; every interruption becomes irritating. Simultaneously, life goes on, and keeps fighting forcibly for its place. And it is here in this pulling back and forth where from one second to the next, I begin to separate myself, the sound becomes clearly the calling of that being that struggles to express itself. And soon I find myself involved in the evocation.

I observe everything indifferently, the time is other, the tempo is other.

I contemplate the blank canvas in front of me, the one that reflects it all, the one that says nothing, the emptiness of space, the emptiness of terror. Soon like magic, like the most fresh breeze, the most soft, I detach in a breath. There is no order, nor rhythm, but the incubation. An idea is born, another follows and one more, until the one looked for, longed for, finally comes. I breathe fresh air, clean, crisp, and clear, alive. The infinite universe opens, filled with possibilities, free of limits, without parameters. I am here! I perceive a birth. The search for light is vital, enlightening that one idea is crucial. In the silence of the night, the muse called inspiration has taken my hand and leads me towards arduous work, almost obsessive, very constant and without pause. The sound of the brush arrives, the dance of the spatula, the rhythm, the music. The red spreads, the line laughs; the elements sensations and concepts blend in the sinuous come and go; the smell of green, the light of the shade, the world as it dies, sadness, longing, nostalgia, the steps from purple to blue, the embellishment of orange, the purity of the indigo blue. Mom you are here! In the wind, life, intuition, red again, more lines more spots, the curve’s passion, seduction, the yellow spot, instinct, rhythm, the power of love, peace, breath, sigh, fear, memory, genocides, the blackest of all blacks, injustice, grief.

Sigh, I remember my children, I remember you, my love; the family, the artists, the other painter, friends orange, more lines, romance and frustration, night, day, wind, silence, relationship, the voice of the square, the singing of the bird, rectangle, city, sun, golden, reflection of the sea, abstraction. Here I am, complete, fulfilled, engaged, surrendered, free! Life comes in through the brush. I am with you, all is one, your essence is mine, the same as the red, as the blue: coexisting, woven, all walking together, the world outside seizes to exist, there’s no separation, the inner world a perfect orchestra. The energy flows, the color intermixes, blends shouts with excitement. The taste is the moment, the breath, and the white of the scent. Everything stops, time is suspended, only the sound of the shapes is heard, color, the language of creation. I am a messenger of your imagination, defined by you, without prejudice, without pain. I find myself in the nothingness of the whole, in the kingdom of our fantasy, crowned with illusion, in ecstasy: you are with me, I exist, and I am.

I stop all of a sudden. A freezing wind, the conscience is in, I observe I take a step back: judgment, insecurity, the voice of the most severe critic, the most ferocious, mine. Harsh words, the ones that dominate, the ones that invade: the principal figure, the rational, and the ego. The music is loud, I am in my studio, and I am back. Come in, look, observe, be a part of this pain, of love, of life, of death, of my soul, of yours, see your reflection in this creation, travel, fly, smell, taste, know yourself, know me, understand me, find yourself, feel the infinite, touch that which remains, live the light of our eyes, discover me in your essence, for always, for this one instant. Imagine it all, all is possible. Silence, I breathe, I smile, the piece lives on its own, without me, I let go, there is nothing like that satisfaction, nothing! This is because in the deepest part of me inhabits the most sincere necessity, the deepest longing to share, to express, to be heard, to be understood, to be fully known by you. After sometime, the motivation, the search, the starting over, the blank canvas, the questioning, silence and its sound, the void, the enormous passion. And at the same time life calls, but your voice is much louder; you my being, with your words, I am profoundly fortunate, I listen, I am here! I am yours! You my being of creation!