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Sometimes a prayer …

November 18, 2021

In my research I read much about artists who found the need to isolate themselves to do their best work or develop creatively. Scholars like Alistair Macqueen asks, ‘Could isolation lead to increased creativity?’ and goes on to question ‘can isolation fuel or stymie creativity?’ (Balance Media 2010) Picasso says, ‘Without Isolation no serious work is possible’. Article in the Observer talks of Vincent van Gogh ‘the poster boy for the tortured, isolated and ignored artist’ and Giogio Vasari who would take himself to a monastery to write and in his book written in 1550 ‘The lives of artists’ he suggests an ‘artist’ is someone who ‘lives on the periphery of society’ (Charney,N. 2020)

During my research I have discover that that a sustained and gentle education on the arts and creativity in particular puppets and puppetry does go a long way to ensure a child and even a grown up having experienced trauma can recover and become a self-sufficient person. 

I am not comfortable calling myself an outsider artist. I am undoubtedly self-taught, and my style is somewhat naïve, but I have not had the hardships as described earlier.  However, before writing this essay I wrote a longer piece discussing my parents who were children of the Great War and both embroiled in the effects of the 2nd World War and the devastation afterwards. They wanted a life away from tradition structures; no need for police and laws, places of worship and celebrated the art of barter in place of monetary exchange. My dad believed people should follow their abilities.     Their ‘outsider’ attitude to life might have been considered anarchy; sadly, it proved unsustainable, and the family broke up 1962.  However, while neither went to have long term relationships they both remained creative and maintained their gentle rebellious natures, particularly my dad.  My mother did her best to champion a balanced creative life, teaching, writing and being and active environmentalist.  As their eldest daughter I was exposed to undue responsibility, neglect, and cruelty; I could dwell on that and find a way to express that in a dark and shadowy way, but that would not be entirely truthful or fruitful.  As child I was left to my own resources and invented and imagined ways into kinder more comfortable environment with paper cut out dolls.  At night I prayed, not to God who in my tiny opinion was also neglectful, a whisper into the darkness for clean frock, a hug, a paint box, or a kind smile from my teacher, please. 

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