Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I have never really considered myself as an artist. Time to change that. I have come to the conclusion that it would be quite beneficial for each and every one of us to regard ourselves as artists. I am not just talking about playing music or painting pictures etc. I mean the art of living - becoming the ceremonial master of your own reality.

What I mean by that is not so easily explained but hopefully you get the idea by the end of this text. It is something that has always been a part of my life philosophy but I have never really attempted to put it into words. So I am not only explaining this to my dear readers but to myself as well. Self-examination is a powerful tool in our everyday life, and that is what I am doing here in this text, continued from my previous entry, Turning the page to a new age.

What kind of person have I become?
How do I perceive myself and how do I portray myself to others?
How did I get to this point in life?
Where am I heading?

I have been working on these questions for quite a while, and they are very basic questions in any given self development strategy. But applying them into your own being is where the art of living comes in. There is a tremendous power in written words, in music, in paintings... art is not just about putting rhyming words together or mixing colors or figuring out which chord sounds most pleasant after the previous one. It is all about expression. What is it that you are trying to portray with your work? Behind every great piece of art there is a message that the artist has in mind. It is a manifestation of the inspiring forces, channeled through this person. A dream or a vision materialized in a certain format. Today I had an idea of writing this type of a text. That divine spark of revelation is what drives me to create. Perhaps one day I will write a book, I already have some themes on my mind that I could expand on but the plot has not revealed itself to me yet. Maybe I'm not ready for that at this stage.

Deciding the right format is very important, but that should not be a limitation for expression. Art is a journey of discovery, self discovery to be more exact. Let's say you wish to reflect the horrors of war and the general cultural degeneration of our western society. Then the medium for this type of art could be something like I had with my first death metal band back in 2007. Yep, that's me down below with the guitar, covered in cow's blood...

During the last few years I have been experimenting with different styles and forms of art. I find this quite liberating. It removes some barriers of the mind that hold people back. I see it as the masculine yang force as described in Chinese philosophy. An expansion of the mind, an exploration into the unknown. After the initial expansion comes eventually a time of contraction when all that has been learned and discovered are absorbed, embraced and synthesized in the female, yin, aspect. To put this into perspective, I could say that for the last five years I have been going around doing many kinds of things, traveling and experimenting. As a result I have turned into a chameleon. I can quite easily adapt to different situations and experience the whole spectrum of life. All it takes is putting aside narrow mindedness and being more curious. Perhaps for the next five years it is then time to synthesize the things I have learned and put them into meaningful practice. The Chinese would call it becoming one with the tao, in musical terms we can speak of harmonization.

A major thing that I have learned is that I don't really want to be a reflection of my environment. I prefer my environment to be a reflection of me. That is the essence and meaning behind my first tattoo, a text that says Non Serviam. I regard a tattoo as a medal of honor. Once I have accomplished something, a tattoo is a symbol of that achievement. I don't serve any single person or any single philosophy. Doing that only enslaves people and imprisons them into tiny boxes. Jack Nicholson made a great reference to the Non Serviam ideology in Martin Scorsese's film The Departed. Again we see a different way of communicating a message, this time in a character of a crazed gangster.

Polar Night Fandango was a more serious attempt for me to express myself. It was quite an experimental band where I wrote all the music and lyrics. All the band members were my best friends so it was just boys being boys and having fun while being creative. Playing music or playing in the sandbox, it's not that different really. All in all, it was a very educational experience and I still quite like the raw creative force that went into those songs. But I was still in a very delicate phase in terms of my personal development and that was when I decided to move to the UK for studying. This next song is what I still regard as my greatest artistic achievement so far. The lyrics reflect my state of transformation in order to find my true self; a spiritual pursuit towards the mastery of my mind. I was already living in the UK when I made the video, inspired by Zeitgeist Addendum.

After starting University I started exploring more the opportunity of using a cinematic approach as a way of expression. Again I wanted to push my limits further. I was learning how to film and edit videos and tried to capture some episodes of my journey in a meaningful way. I was not concerned what other people would think about it but it was something that was meaningful for me. I was mapping my development as you can now see in this blog entry. It was becoming a ritual. This is what I am, this is what I want to be in the future. So one of the clips I made was a trailer to my life. What would my life look like if it was a movie? You can see the result below.

People sometimes ask me why am I so quiet. I do speak with people but I'm not really into small talk. Sometimes I just prefer to listen to others. I might also get lost in my thoughts, and it's probably better to keep some ideas to myself instead of turning every coffee table conversation into a philosophical debate. There is a time and place for that, and certain mediums of expression are more effective when I do wish to bring my ideas forth. This blog, for example, is a great way to collect my thoughts and organize them. I get to do it at my own pace and no one can interrupt me while I'm doing it. And of course once it's done it can be read over and over again. I really hate to repeat myself so this way I get to communicate the same message to a larger audience. Just imagine for a moment that I would go around and tell people individually all the things that I have just written here...

Art is magical. They teach you how to spell at school but they never reveal how to make a spell. That is what I mean by becoming a true artist. Not just some attention seeking entertainer that you see on the TV all the time. Don't be a reflection of your environment, especially if you are not happy with it. Become someone that people will look up to and they will follow you. Then you can share the same wisdom with those who have chosen to listen to you. We can not change our environment but we can change ourselves. Become a radiating beacon of light and shine like the sun.

I'm not claiming that I have mastered everything and that I have all the answers to life's questions. But I have found a direction for my life, and it gives a  whole different tone to my art.

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