It’s more accurate to call blogging one-sidedly impersonal. If you are a regular reader, you know way more about me – my life, my interests, my though process, where I live, etc., than I do of most of you.
Yeah, I’m talking to you, person from “unknown region”.
See, Blogger records certain statistics about Art Regard’s audience. It lets me know what time of day or night someone reads a certain blog post. It tells me what country that person lives in. What browser they use. What brand of deodorant they buy.
Well, maybe not the latter. But you get the picture. In the last month, I’ve had 1,346 distinct clicks on one of my posts from someone in the US; 22 from the UK; 16 from Georgia, which, hello, being one of the 50 states ought not to be singled out like that; 8 from Italy; 5 from Canada; 4 each from Australia, Czechia, and the Ukraine; and 3 each from Austria and something it’s calling “Unknown Region” (Middle Earth, I wonder? I did refer to the Lord of the Rings yesterday…).
And let me say that, were you not out there, albeit largely hiding behind your anonymity, I absolutely wouldn’t be getting up to write at (checks watch) 2:30 am.
The knowledge that you’re out there, nearly universally silent though you may be, is the fuel that gets me up nearly each and every day, these days. Well, that and the Breville espresso maker my wife, Nan, picked up at a garage sale.
But man does not live on “starter fluid” alone.
No, he needs bacon as well.
For me, and I suspect for the vast majority of creative types out there – I assume most of you who read Art Regard regularly do so for the occasionally creativity-related content, not, as no doubt some of you do, as a part of an ongoing research study on the mind of the manically creative type – it’s all about connection.
We’re made for connection.
Physical, emotional, spiritual connection. As Brené Brown talks about in her two wonderful Ted Talks, we’re hard-wired for it. We need it in order to have a more fulfilling, healthy, and whole life.
I could say the same thing about my mainstay, visual art. If I didn’t have you in mind when I am creating a sculpture, I don’t think I’d do so for very long. Especially any of you collectors out there, but that’s beside the point. And truly, while the income generating aspect of my art is crucial (and, as I said yesterday to Lela and Brent, two Colorado College alums who were in town for their 5th year reunion and paid me a visit, what the money one’s art rewards them with, chiefly, is the opportunity to, you guessed it: make more art), you’ll just have to believe me that making money isn’t my top priority as an artist. If it were, I wouldn’t be an artist. Unless it was a scam artist, like the emails I’ll get from time to time:
By the way, against my better judgment, I did respond.
No, and I sincerely don’t think self-expression tops the list, either.
The cream that rises to the top, for me, is, yet again, connection.
Not that self-expression can be separated from connection; they’re basically two sides of the same coin.
But I can tell you that the times I get the most satisfaction from my creative work, whether the medium is wood, metal, acrylics, pastels, or words typed and published online, are those when I feel a deep connection with another’s heart, mind, and soul.
(Here, I could simply repost one of the perhaps dozens of currently hibernated posts from my initial blog that focus on this subject, but will refrain. I want to go in a different direction this morning.)
Ok, so each medium a creative employs to create their work has its positives and negatives. Photography, in particular, used to have a lot of negatives, but not so much with the advent of the digital camera (rim shot).
Wood has an inherent warmth and life to it, but breathing wood dust is, to one degree or another, bad for you. Hence, I have seemingly permanent creases near my temples from wearing dust masks all day long, sometimes for weeks or months on end.
It also causes splinters, like the one I got just yesterday, dragging the masons’ old wheelbarrow, overfull with rocks and roots, out of what in just a few days’ time will be the interior of my new art studio. #excited #dusty #shouldhavebeenwearingmymask #heybrentandlela
I could go on, naming different creative media, but, as my finger did yesterday, you get the point: you take the good with the bad, both in life and in whatever weapon you choose to wield as a creative person.
But I’m going to begin to wrap things up here. I know – rather shocking to any of you out there who know how unlike my online verbosity is to the somewhat quiet person I am in “real life”. Most of the time, anyway.
Before I do, may I make a special request of you? Yeah, I’m talking to you, person from “Unknown Region”. But also to you, Portugal. And you, too, Czechia. (Czechia? Don’t mean to offend, but are you a brand new country? If so, welcome to the world!)
I’m talking to all of you, collectively, and that’s the issue. Frankly, I think too many of you are conveniently hiding behind your anonymity. You don’t mind me exposing myself to the world, but you?
But I get it. It’s like whenever you get a request in the mail to support this or that worthy cause. If you’re anything like me, you nearly never feel any need to respond. Heck – it’s even addressed rather impersonally: to Andy Tirado or current resident. As soon as I begin to read “or curr…”, I put the envelope in the discard pile. It would be different if I’d ever heard tell of such an envelope containing a check accompanied by a letter saying, “I felt like giving you a check for one million dollars. Here it is. In case Andy has moved from this address, though, I’ve left the recipient line blank. Whoever gets this check, fill in your name and feel free to deposit it into your bank account. I hope you find it as useful as I know Andy would have…”
And that’s the point of this post. I truly hope someone out there sends me a check for one million dollars.
Kidding. Not kidding. But yeah, of course, kidding. Not kidding.
I’ll close by saying that as I began to write, this morning, it was with the faintest thought, and one that I know I can’t coerce you to do:
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
And do so however you wish. Want to leave a public comment? There’s a rarely used section for that below this post.
Want to leave a more private message? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. (B.t.w., www.andrewtirado.com is my portfolio website. Yeah, I know it needs updating and doesn’t work well on mobile. It’s on the to do list. Forget the one million dollars – ten thousand would do nicely.)
While there’s nothing I can do to remove that veil of virtual anonymity from my end, save perhaps include a gif of how I will feel if you choose to disregard my plea –
– I would really love to find out more about you. Not just the overview stats, like which browser you’re using. Not just your nationality.
I’m interested in you. In why you read Art Regard. Are you creative? Is there something in particular that you read my blog for? Something you’d like me to write about? Do you want, say, less text and more pictures of babies? (Yeah, I know, Nan, I know.)
I’m sure there’s some statistic that says that direct asks like this are only .5% effective. Hey, that’d be fine with me, you gotta start somewhere (except, having said that, the .5% of you who might have written now feel justified to join the 99.5% who won’t respond.)
So here’s part of my relatively unformed thought.
The world’s a big place, and I’ve not seen nearly enough of it.
Perhaps one day my wife and I will wake up in your home, or, I don’t know, yurt, any of you reading this from Mongolia. Or your Hobbit Hole.
Maybe you’ll visit me. We’re building a couple of short term rentals.
Not all of you, and not all at once, for sure. And I ought to also add the following caveat: I might not respond in kind. Not for a while, anyway. Depends on how thoughtful your message is, in large part. Also on how many plates I’m trying to keep spinning.
But don’t think you have to write anything long or eloquent, or include any checks. Unmarked bills would do nicely. You’d be surprised at how the littlest comment from someone, letting me know they’ve read something I’ve written, rekindles my desire to write.
And who knows? Perhaps, to quote Rick Blaine in the film Casablanca, perhaps
“…this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
And that, in a nutshell, is, at last, probably the closest I’ve come to articulating, to myself and to you – yes, you, Russia, why I get up early each day to write on a blank screen. The world’s full of rich connections, and I want to partake.
Especially if you’ve got a spare million lying around.