I make a habit of listening to NPR in the morning. It gets my day started and I’m especially tuned in when stories by artists (of any kind) make their way to the studio. This morning I was listening to “Morning Edition” when they shared an interview with James Ellroy, a writer in the crime genre. He’s eloquent, funny, and utilizes his life experience to enhance his work. His stories are funny and provocative. Whenever I’m reading or listening to an interview, I’m keenly aware of my desire to seek the nugget that is embedded in the interview. Towards the end of Ellroy’s interview the host asked him, “Who do you write for?” I was impressed with the question because it’s not something most artists think about, and if they do, the answer is overwhelmingly…themselves. Ellroy stated that he writes for God.
I’m not sure but maybe this answer surprised the host as much as it did the listening public. He was asked to elaborate on the point. He calmly and persuasively responded that he has a gift that he didn’t ask for or cultivate so it must be from God and in return that’s who his primary audience. I never really thought about it in that manner because my work is inspired by my story, but as I dig deeper it’s part of the universal story that we’re living simultaneously.
I didn’t grow up with a visual arts gene, I was directed to express myself through music. As I’ve grown older that has shifted as became apparent when I did a decade by decade artistic autobiography for one of my classes. As I sit with the idea of my artistic story I know that I’m simply a conduit for the bigger story, the one we all share and contribute to on a daily basis. One of the ways I contribute is by creating works of art that are not only eye appealing, but evoke emotional and/or spiritual responses from the viewer. I hope that each and every person takes the piece of art and incorporates it into their own life story. I guess I also create for God because that’s my place of origin in all things physical, emotional, and of course spiritual.