Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Art Blog: You NEVER Know

I have been involved in a number of vibrant and energetic art discussions online in recent days. I love this. Thank goodness for the internet! One of the topics under discussion is my project I am doing for Art House Coop. It is a sketchbook titled “Encyclopedia of Suicide”. This is my own concept. I have wanted to explore this issue for a long time. It is definitely a work in progress. Things are coming along very well. I am creating digital/mixed media pages and taking notes. However, I have realized this is a very touchy subject. I think I am hitting a nerve. People want to talk. People want to speculate. People are hurt. This is why I am interested in using this as a springboard for art research and an expressionistic idea.

First I have to say my book is not going to be morbid or gruesome in anyway. Per usual, I want to explore the emotional side of suicide. What? When? Where? How? WHY?????????? I have been interested in the issue of suicide since I was a child. I won’t go into details, but this phenomenon has touched me in many ways. So much so, when I see any video or news headline that mentions the taking of a life by one’s own hand, I have to look, read, and wonder. It isn’t hard for me to imagine this situation. I know and I think I understand. I have worked with emotionally impaired individuals most of my life. I have witnessed how they think.

After listening to others speak and comment, I have gathered the emotional detritus and remnants of emotional scars that remain after a death of a loved one. I cannot imagine their pain. One thing that is a continuing thread is the senseless nature of the act. So many people who decide to end their own lives have had very creative and productive lives. We see that. It is obvious to us. However inside the mind of an extremely depressed person, things aren't so easily recognized. There is an extreme emptiness and a feeling nobody REALLY cares.

This part is understandable. To those of us lucky enough to have some grasp of reality, it is still very difficult to understand and accept how others perceive us. We don’t even connect with the truth of what is going on at any given time. Most of us have our own thoughts about our own world and how we perceive it. We also have conjured up ideas about what others think about us. True or false, that is our own reality.

Someone sent me an email yesterday in response to a thank you note I had sent another artist. In my email, I mentioned I felt so lost and nearly artistically insane due to the lack of artist community support. In his response he said “You are not insane by any means and you probably have more people that admire your passions than you think.” This comment stopped me in my tracks. All of a sudden there was a fight between my rational and emotional brain. You never really know what others are thinking about you. There are people that see good in you. There are people who look up to you. There are people who want the same things you have in your art life.

You never really know.

The rational side knows this to be true. I have been lucky. I know I am a force to be reckoned with and have lived a good art life. My tenacity alone deserves praise. Yet in my (emotional) heart of hearts during these tough times, I start to wonder about my work and worth. This is why I can understand why someone would feels like there is no point anymore. The rational side of our minds and being loses out to our emotions which at times skew our perceptions.

Work in Progress
“Encyclopedia of Suicide”
Sheree Rensel

1 comment:

namastenancy said...

My hats off to you for being so brave as to deal with a topic as difficult as suicide. But if anybody can do it well, it's you! I've loved the conversations as well. I admire your passionate nature and understand how difficult it is for you (for us) to accept that other people to respect and admire you (us). We are so accustomed to rejection and harsh criticism that when warmth and acceptance comes along, we feel like it's in a foreign language. But artists don't say good things enough to each other. Artists don't communicate enough and I often wonder why. I'm glad that you have been able to enable some people to break the "code of silence" and speak of what they feel and hope. And, alas, fear.