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In the MAKING –

The desire to MAKE –
that is the human curse I carry –
the MAKING of art
in a futile attempt to carry
myself into a future
without me –

My hands want creation –
if my mind wants peace
it has come to the wrong place –
this world is ours
for the MAKING –

For those of us who have
sufficiently little of ourselves
to value art
that’s what we MAKE –

For those who live instead
they MAKE themselves
and others in their image –

And we shall MAKE
a world without us
through our restless creation –
a world in our image
as barren as the average mind
that brought it down –

Meanwhile I’ll MAKE
some poetry and hope
some sense might yet be found –

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Travelling Alone

“How good for you, to travel alone,
it’s so empowering!”
“A modern woman shouldn’t wait for anyone;
run your own show, do your own thing!”
“I’m so impressed that you went all on your own!”

I know there is no point in exclamations,
in corrections,
Technically they are just trying
to compliment me.
But why is it that they can’t see
the errors that they make?
As if I would have travelled
all alone
if that wasn’t the only path to take?

I didn’t go to prove myself,
to “grow” or show the world
what an empowered woman I am –
I went alone because
I have no-one with whom
I could’ve shared my travel plan.

What is it that’s supposed to be
so great
about standing alone in a foreign city
taking pictures of oneself?
As if I wouldn’t rather
have had someone
to share the experience with.

Yeah, sure, I got to spend a whole day
in an art museum
with nobody to complain –
you know what’s sometimes said of art?
That it’s a substitute for love,
and only truly thrives
when needed
as an outlet for emotions.

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Your Masterpiece

Your palms lay out the background
with the heat they carry in them –
the heat that in the dawn of our species
was granted by the core of our Earth.

Your fingertips then paint me
with their liquid fire –
clothe me in a cobweb
of invisible tattoos –
an intricate masterpiece
of flesh and nerves
that lasts as long
as I do.

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On Drawing K In the Shower

A monumental quality
as such there shouldn’t be
in a thing as transient
as the human body.

And yet there is a sort
of perpetual strength in
the look of your muscles
and sinews tightening.

As if you were a cliff
squaring up to meet the sea;
enduring and majestic
in its rigidity.

Yet as that cliff you are
still vulnerable too –
these years that pass away
are also marking you.

So here I am at work
attempting to preserve
through graphite, yet again,
every sinew, every nerve.

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Ode From an Artist

My heart cramps up and gasps for breath
confined within my chest
with art as the only outlet
for the feelings by which I’m beset

My stomach twists and turns in fear
when finished I present
a piece of art to hands
whose lack of touch I bear

That lack of touch which bade create
the poem, painting, song
that speaks of how I long
for better outlet than I re-create

Art; substitute for what I need,
a beautiful one indeed
but barren, void and lifeless too –
I’d take your hands instead
if offered them; I’d take them and
I’d lead them everywhere
where words and paint can never reach;
all that I’d with you share!

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Artistic Identification

A debate has been raging lately about identity in art. Can an artist portray someone from whose ethnic group / gender one doesn’t belong? Is is permissible to even do that? Doesn’t it further stereotypes? Doesn’t it further bias? Isn’t it implicitly sexist or racist to even think one is allowed to do such a thing in the first place?
I’ve had enough of this debate. I propose a whole other distinction. How about we identify as artists first, and everything else second? That way the problem is automatically solved! Or better yet; can’t we just agree that we’re all at least human, flaws and differences aside?
But I guess that’s too simplistic a solution for the vast majority of the human race – which is why they can’t agree on the topic.
I don’t care if a man tries to write a book from a woman’s perspective. If anything, it might teach him something. He might not necessarily get it right – in which case I can laugh it off and pick up another book. No problem. But I also refuse to write from a man’s perspective in a feeble attempt to encourage more men to read me. It doesn’t matter to me if other women do that though – that’s their choice. The main point should be the quality of the book, and the depth and strength of the questions raised by it. Not either the author or the narrators respective genders or races.
I myself prefer writing based on personal experience. But that isn’t to say that there can’t be valid reasons for adopting the perspective of others. To broaden one’s horizon. To attempt understanding. Isn’t it better to at least try, and maybe get it wrong, rather than being too afraid to broach the topic? I think it is.I think art could be a useful tool for promoting understanding – if artists aren’t threatened into only writing about themselves. If one does that, it should reflect an active choice of the artist, and not coercion by society.
I would like to think that we could at some point move past these discussions altogether and focus on the content instead – but the rest of the world never ceases to disappoint me in said regard.

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To Sign or Not To Sign

I am frequently asked to sign my paintings. I don’t want to. It’s not that I can’t understand that the person who gets the painting would want it signed – I mean, it is more convenient for them. But it takes something out of the final product for me.

Supposedly it should be a great feeling for an artist to sign a product. It would finish it definitively, and clear it from the mind’s eye. However, it doesn’t function that way for me. For me, a signature is the sign of death and decay. It is a sign you mark a thing with to declare that it is all downhill from here – no further development is allowed, and from now on the object has been written off by its creator.

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Of the Increased Digitalization of Art

This is an important topic to address, and it is only natural that so many people have done it already. Technically it is unnecessary for me to add my thoughts to the lot, but since it is inevitably on my mind, I’ll do it anyway. The topic is of course what consequences digitalization has for art, generally speaking. And it is a large topic and difficult to address with any accuracy, but I shall endeavor. In order to do this I will necessarily have to express myself concisely, so forgive me for the slightly compressed nature of the following.

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Art Through Participation

In the past, art has been the work of one artist, and it has been supposed to conclude in a final ”work” that was unalterable and meant for display only. But times have changed, and they keep on changing. Today, there is no rule stating that art has to result in a “work”. Technically, art can be an ongoing process. The internet has made it possible to get feedback faster and from a much wider audience, and the artists who use this venue for publication could easily use it to expand on their work over time, and change it according to the audience’s wishes. Technology makes it possible to change the perspective, the means and the goals of art altogether.

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Why My Sight Is An Advantage

Most people who have the benefit of the full use of their senses are using them quite superficially. Ask them to look at something, and they will only award the object a quick glance – just long enough to classify it inside their brains without actually being able to distinguish it from the general idea of the category they have mechanically placed it into. And if you thereafter ask them to draw the object, the result will at the very best be a stylized and most unnatural sketch, which shows little to no knowledge at all about either symmetry or proportions – far less the look of the object in question.

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Art and Memory

Art is a creation that is based on human memory, which is, as you already know, imperfect and highly selective. Why claim that artists “lie”? They can’t wring more out of themselves than what they are given to work with. Our memories are selective, and so art becomes selective. Our memories do not always preserve all details, and so art leaves out things as well. Our memories may trick us – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It might cause us to see things in a different light, and that might turn out to be exactly the light we need in order to understand something.

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A Note on the Nature of Art

Art is merely a form of communication. Each form of art a different form of communication. But still just forms of communication. And it is the thing communicated that matters; not really the way in which it is communicated.

All the myths about the artist as a divinely inspired presence are utterly useless. Artists are (at best) skilled and have practice in perceiving and passing on information, but they are not extraordinary in any other way. Every person, I believe, is born with the ability to do what I do, but most choose to focus on other matters. That doesn’t make me particularly extraordinary. I am just a person who follows my inclination towards creating artwork, perhaps in the foolish hope that other people will someday come to understand what I mean by it, despite the fact that I don’t even always know the meaning myself.

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A Crooked Tree – II

I’ve wished that I was beautiful,
spent years pining therefore –
I thought myself to be sorrowful
without admiring glances,
and wasted years by dreaming me
into something that I couldn’t be –
just this I am; a crooked tree;
the only beauty found in me
sounds through my crooked branches;
the wind’s cheerful melody

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The Movement

Our lives are an unending movement –
sometimes rhythmic, sometimes not –
a stirring springing up to fade away,
a ripple in the fabric of the world;
just one continuous movement
carrying us underway,
complete with a beginning and an end
and a drawn-out intermezzo in-between
as were it in itself a poem
or perhaps a brushstroke drawn
by sure or unsure hand across
the fabric of space;

it can be smoothly, swiftly made by certain hand
as the finest works of art and science,
or turn into a broken, unsure question-mark
awaiting time to solve the mysteries of its existence

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To Be Drawn

’Stretch out your leg and bend your arm,
look to the left – sit still.’
I stay poised in front of you
while you the paper fill.

And then a new pose, and another
on and on again –
what heat spreads throughout my form
as you draw yet again.

What strength of passion do I feel
while your mind’s bent on art –
while you draw my naked body
and observe each separate part.

Can you not see my heartbeat through
the skin you solemnly draw –
do you not feel the heat in the room?
No? You just draw and draw.

Still poised for your artistic pride
I wonder here, alone,
how strange and how mysterious
a feeling – to be drawn.

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The Changeling

When I was born, I guess nobody knew
that I was born to be an artist too –
for when it was announced much later on
my parents answered little else than scorn –

I stretch the boundaries I am confined in –
I have to, if I’m even to begin
expressing what I sense around me – I am free
from expectations born by anyone but me –

However nice it would be once to hear
appreciation from my source of being, it is clear
that what I am I have become alone
and what I do I must do on my own –

So here I am – a changeling I guess,
who didn’t quite fulfill my parents’ wish
(whatever else they wished their only child),
a failure, such I guess they’ve got me filed –

Yet who are they to blame or who to cry;
I cannot be another than this “I” –
whatever else they may have wished of me,
delusions were on them, never on me