Rolling: The Highs and Lows of Art Making

The process of making art is a constant roller coaster. Sometimes I feel deeply inspired, energized by a crystal clarity. But this moment of clarity doesn't typically last for long. It comes in waves; I can go in and out of this epiphany-like feeling throughout the day.

I'll be in the studio working away on something new, headphones in my ears listening to some groovy jams, and I'll feel bottomless focus. My mind becomes calm, thoughts are positive, and I feel I have a deeper understanding of what the f*** I am doing. Even alone in my studio I am able to feel connected to the world around me and can more clearly see the complexities of the human experience.

Then an hour later I'll be distracted, unsure, confused, and insecure. I'll stumble around on a walk in the hot sun, lost in the loneliness inside my skull, thinking "well is any of this important at all?"

Then 10 minutes later I'll be having a conversation with someone and I'll float at ease back into the rich sea of knowledge I had found myself in earlier.

I used to have these dreams as a little girl that I was on a roller coaster. I'd being going up this hill and intensity would build and build and build. My dream-heart (and maybe even my real-life heart) would beat faster and faster, and all my dream-muscles would tense and suffocate my bones.

As I peered over the top of the climb I would hold my dream-breath.

All the muscles in my body would completely let go. I would feel incredibly light, easy and free. I was floating on air, blissful.

Then before I knew it there was another hill ahead of me; the anxious panic would start building again.

Then down again, back into the heavy calm.

I would ride up and down these hills until eventually would find myself awake in my mother's arms drenched in tears from the exhausting effects of the emotional roller coaster nightmare.

I can't help but recall this childhood reoccurring dream when I think about the roller coaster of a dedicated studio art practice.

The emotions are different, but both in the dream and in my practice, I cannot control when there are highs and when there are lows.

The highs are what motivate me to create, but they unfortunately aren't possible without the lows. It's tiring, just as the dreams were as a child, but this is a dream I cannot and do not want to wake up from. 

 Part of a series I am working on of altered photographs of hands in motion

Part of a series I am working on of altered photographs of hands in motion