At the end of last year, I was offered a solo exhibition at a cute little cafe in Washington Heights. The opportunity couldn’t have come at a worse time. Christmas and New Years were quickly approaching, my in-laws were due to arrive from England for a 10 day visit, and my mother was in the hospital. Despite all of this, I said yes and got down to work. It was a stressful, sleepless, and ultimately joyous month preparing my show, “Beyond the Sea”. When it was finally hung and living in the space, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and a sense of accomplishment washed over me. I did it. I made the deadline with some time to spare. I broke the tape crossing the finish line and the theme from Rocky played in my head. This contentment lasted a few days and then I thought:
Those two words sent shivers down my spine. Trying to ride the wave of creativity and on an emotional high, I got back on that horse. But looking at my camera in my hands, seeing that corner in my living room where I do my work, I thought my ideas would flow like a river. Instead I heard the sound of drip……drip…………….drip.
Where did my mojo go? Where is my creative spark and how do I get it back? I’m frozen. Feet stuck in thick mud that’s been mixed with quicksand and concrete. It’s the dreaded ”dry spell ”. I’ve gone through this before. When inspiration is replaced by doubt. It’s like learning to walk again after you’ve run a marathon. Legs collapsing under you, arms motionless, the will to move is there but the body is telling you, “No way, José”. So you lay there, like a wad of chewed gum on the sidewalk and you wait to gain your strength. Wait until the ideas start flowing. Until you find your center again. Wait until the desire to make art is like a lightening bolt buzzing through your body. But you wait…..and wait…..and wait. No buzz, no yearning. Just uncertainty. Everything becomes day old oatmeal. Bland and colorless. Where is Cher when you need her to slap your face and yell “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
I take walks to get out of my own head, watch documentaries about artists, or read quotes by other creatives looking for some insight or wisdom. I work on other projects that need less brain power. All to no avail. I think I really just need Cher or at least some sort of metaphysical version of her in that famous scene. I’ve gotten over the block before and I’ll get over it again. Until that happens, I will read, work, grumble, walk, rip up ideas, and come up with new ones.