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Alchemic Artist

December 27, 2017

 

"One who is detached from his work’s results is the one who is truly renounced" - Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.

 

I arrived in NYC in May of 2011. Coming to NYC changed my perception of the arts. It really made me live and understand what is to be an Artist, even if just for a glimpse.

 

I come from a relatively cultured family that traveled all over the world. I lived in Portugal most of my life, but also in Macau/China for part of my childhood, in Barcelona/Spain when I was studying Psychology, and l have been living in the USA for the past 9 years. 

 

As a teenager I always had a very creative mind, wrote poetry, painted, did martial arts and spent many hours listening to music and singing in my room. But strangely, instead of pursuing the arts, science was my main field of study because I had this idea that I wanted to become a biologist. I ended up choosing to study the human psyche in college after falling madly in love with philosophy and psychology in my last year of high school.

 

Nonetheless, music kept creeping in and, after all said and done, my path took a turn and I discovered my true calling, which I believed to be singing. It was a long journey that finally led me to the USA to pursue a masters degree in singing.

 

Arriving in NYC was like stumbling into the absolute darkness. It completely changed my perception of the arts, because although I had seen much art in my life already, I had never experienced art. My first year in NYC was the typical adventure that I believe many upcoming young artists go through once they arrive here. Art became my breath. Art was in every little corner, in every heart ache, every longing, every deception, every anxiety, the subway, the gallery openings, the Brooklyn indie rock venues, the DIY – in everything.

 

Here artists decide what becomes art and I believe this is one of the beauties of NYC. This is what I was longing for. To become an artist, in every way. So, I decided to "DIM"- Do It Myself.  I wanted to rip the old skin and do things I had never dare to do before. I was reading “The creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, watching Marina Abramovich footage, watching documentaries on many different artists, meeting and living with artists, going to events by myself, meeting random people, forging relationships and couch surfing. This empowerment of the freedom of the "go with the flow" for a while shaped a new outer-line in me, challenged my habits and emotions. When you get out of your comfort zone you test your values and what really is your core. I think this is when your true artistry starts revealing itself. No wonder artists often feel the need to venture out and live pain, for that will channel more of the divine within.

 

During 3 months, in between the spring-summer of 2012, dealing with a typical broken heart phase, I drew every single day until I had created hundreds of drawings (I also wrote many songs enough to produce a whole album). Independently of the value they might have they were my first hard core experience as an artist (other than being a performer). I had created something which had only come from my own creative habit, quoting Tharp's book. I could see how every single drawing had evolved from its predecessor and how it influenced the next one. The same happened to my music. I started composing one song after the other. Music just poured like a thread of an infinite source of inspiration, one chord evolving into another, one poem creeping onto another, cathartic-ally. 

 

I had experienced what I wanted. I never saw art the same way after that. I never saw performance the same way either. The artist, no matter in which capacity, is a worker and his illumination comes from being there, openly, doing the work. Sometimes you have no idea where to start, but you just do it, and you do it again and eventually something will come out of it.The same happens when you practice or perform as a musician. Every time you do it you are experiencing something different, you are doing it as a thread of your last performance and in the continuum of the gonging sound of the universe. It is never the same, just as the strike of the brush is never the same. There is always something added, something that has evolved and spiraled.  Nothing comes from a tabula rasa; creation is constantly flourishing and spiraling everywhere, and as artists we just need to able ourselves to be the channel for it. And in the end it is not our creation anymore, it is beyond us.Just as the alchemist is the discoverer of the panacea, the alchemic artist distills the pains of the universe into healing energy and then his work becomes grander than himself

 

 

 

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