My writing never needed anyone. That is a lesson I’ve had to learn. Of course it needs & deserves to be read by those who appreciate it, by an audience which wants to understand & care about what I make. However, I always thought I needed someone in my life to care about it. I have felt that with my drawings & illustrations as well.
In the past year or so, I’ve come to realize that only I need my writing & drawing for them to deserve to exist.
I have continued always to make work when I can because I have needed & always need creativity in my life for my well-being. In terms of audience, I follow the tenet that making art which you wish to engage with in the world is what we do, need to do. & this I truly believe in; especially in terms of the socially conscious aspect, this will be eternally necessary. You want people to get something out of the work you release, to benefit from it in some way. I very much want that.
What I’ve learned about myself is that in order to get to that work, I need to focus on making stuff for me, enough of it, which may or may not make it out there.
Different than the squirreling creations away as I have done, it’s more about being really present in constructing a process for my work which transcends my insecurities, doubts & my centring lack versus plentiful expression.
Nothing taught me this more than coming to terms with the tension between access & production in a world which doesn’t place adequate value on artists’ labour.
While I value art to such a degree it’s very difficult to put into words, I like many cultural producers, have had to face these contradictions by simultaneously addressing them within ourselves, as well as in the world. Like I had to learn to value my whole person as an artist as much as I value art itself.
Art is a gift I give myself every day. I do that by thinking about what I’m missing & asking myself what do we need to be immersed in artistically to survive & feel connected in this world?
Ⓒ Niliema Karkhanis
Note: I was going to make this part of my series on the writing process. But it felt very personal, a reflection of what I’ve been through in the past year in general & as a writer. So I thought I’d post it as a musing. Also to encourage you to love & nourish your art self.