san francisco nights, photograph
“… it’s also important to recognize that what we’ve created may be private work, rather than something to offer for publication or exhibition.”
– John Daido Loori, The Zen of Creativity
Do you ever create this kind of private work?
We’re not referring to work that is kept private because it isn’t up to our personal quality standards, but rather work that just isn’t suitable for consumption by others. It might be something that was inspired by an inner muse that you are not ready to share. The work may even be disturbing to others. Not all art is “feel good” art.
As artists I think it is good to challenge our audience, but not to intentionally upset them. Since we explore our inner state through our art, it makes sense that a wide range of feelings and emotions are represented.
I know many artists are tempted to produce only work that uplifts, themselves and others. We are all enriched by such work. But I recommend examining other modalities in your art as well.
I was recently told by someone that a body of my work “should be seen, but was not commercial”. In other words, it had something to say but nobody would probably want to buy it and hang it on their wall. There are all sorts of categories that art falls into beyond the familiar ones so many of us focus on.
So tell me, do you have a collection of private work hidden away somewhere? What can you tell us about it?