The Studio of Eric Valosin

Monday, January 9, 2012

Idealism Deficit Disorder

I think I'm suffering from IDD.  I've noticed this waning sense of Idealism ever since graduating college, and it's only been augmented by the balancing act of grad school, work, a studio practice, and a pregnant wife (that's right!  If you haven't heard, June 23rd I will have created my greatest collaborative work to date!!)  I've always seen the world as full of imaginative possibilities and held little fear of failure, since failure was, for all intents and purposes, largely imaginary as well.  With no real bottom threatening beneath the safety nets of youth, idealism freely soars over the realm of practicality and responsibility.  Part of this loss probably stems from a currently stagnating spiritual life that has perhaps become overly analytical and theoretical rather than trusting and emotional.  But this also is a product, I suspect, of the fact that most art does not make sense in a pragmatic setting, yet things like feeding your family and health benefits are harder to come by in a fanciful, dream-chasing idealism.  As I navigate art school, I often feel caught between the clash of pragmatism and idealism.  Drop all sense of responsibility, through yourself into the blindness of your faith, and devote yourself wholly and unbalanced to your artwork and this fanciful quest for culture?  Or settle for halfhearted artwork in order to preserve the time and resources necessary to preserve a marriage and raise a family in a stabile environment?  A coworker of mine recently noted that the common thread in the biographies of famous people is that they were wholly and singularly preoccupied with their field, at the cost of nearly everything else in life.  I fear that the striving for balance is also a death sentence to greatness.

This tension mirrors all to closely the uncomfortable place we often find ourselves spiritually, torn between the call magic and the lure of safety.  Pragmatism is the all-too-convincing adversary of nearly every great social and spiritual advancement, and yet there needs to be a framework by which to sustain such idealism.  My friend recently summed up the whole reason for this blog quite nicely by adapting Thomas Mann's assessment of writers:
"Painters are not people who love to paint.  They are people for whom painting is harder than it is for normal people."
I find lately that no sooner do I have a brilliant inspiration for a project than I discover 5 conceptual reasons why it's not worth following through on.  Sometimes I envy people who don't think too hard about things.

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