The Artist Block
Artist Note: This series is very personal to me as it explores a very vulnerable yet a crucial turning point in my life. Please do not be discouraged from reading this. I recommend taking 10 minutes out of your day or save this for later to read! I have been wanting to share my series with the world for almost a year, so dive in and more importantly, enjoy!
Stage 1: Deny, Deny, Deny
Denial is the first stage of an ‘Artist Block’. It begins with lack of motivation and inspiration to create. It is a disconnect between the mind and body. You no longer can connect the dots or paint the picture from inside your head. Your hands suddenly forget how to hold a pencil. The fear of never being able to draw or create daunts over you. The painting concept and composition I have in mind for the first stage, I wanted to have my body laying down implying a sense of laziness or lack of movement. I wanted to use a single color but different ranges as my choice of color palette which in this case is blue. I chose the color blue because it represents order and calmness which I was lacking during the first stage of my artist block.
Stage 2: Inner War
The second stage of an ‘Artist Block’ is Depression. Depression is probably one of the most gruesome stages as this is where most people get caught up and stuck in an infinity loop. It is a downward spiral going further and further, until you hit rock bottom. You suddenly feel as though you have no control and you want to get better, but you aren’t sure how to do so or where to even get started. Even when you try, you fail and when you fail, you become discouraged. Thus creating a loop of spiraling downwards towards depression and artist block. The infinite loop can be difficult to break out of as it can make or break an individual. For the painting concept I had in mind, I wanted to have myself caught in two moments. I wanted to capture the internal battle; a war and destructive cycle which only can be solved by one’s self. I wanted to add a color that allows the blue to stand true but also be able to blend. With that being said, I chose the color pink. The color pink represents strength, safety, higher thinking and self-empowerment.
Stage 3: Trinity
Realization in the third stage that follows. In this stage, after multiple attempts of escaping the infinite loop, you finally make a breakthrough. You take a step back, close your eyes and breathe. You realize what it really takes to break out of the Artist Block. You start to implement and make the changes that you want to see in your life and eventually you find that middle ground and mental zone that brings you back to creating. It all begins with a little bit of initiative and effort, not out of fear, but because of the desire and the passion that burns inside. It is important to remember to take baby steps and understand that time is all you need to eventually break out of an Artist Block. The painting concept for the third stage is to have myself split into three frames. Each frame represents the progression through the stages after realization and is made distinguishable through the color. In this stage, I added color to the blue and pink themes with purple. The reason why I selected the color purple was to represent the requirements to achieve the sense of realization and add to the sense of an awakening. Purple represents spiritual protection and purification, as well as it cleanses one’s energy field of negative influences.
Stage 4: Evolution
The next stage that follows is Action. This stage is quite important and crucial to breaking free of an Artist Block. It requires more than just a physical action, you need to invest your heart and soul into bettering yourself for you. This is the next step that needs to be executed, but in order for everything to go smoothly, you must plan each step! Without any guidelines, it can be easy to lose a sense of direction and inevitably spiral out of control again. The painting concept for stage four, was to have my body in a ‘Work-In-Progress’ composition as though I am physically working and viewing myself as a work of art that needs to be developed. I was also inspired by Bobbie Carlyle’s ‘Self-made man’ when it came to developing my concept for stage four. In addition, the color I decided to add to the mix was green. Green also represents purity as well as it symbolizes gentleness, nourishment, balance and harmony.
Stage 5: Resurrection
The final and last stage is the comeback, or as I like to call it ‘The Resurrection’. The word in itself explains everything that it composes and consists but it is more complex. It is a rebirth, an uprising and a takeover. What makes this stage so great is the significance because it is more than a breakthrough. The painting concept I had in mind for the last and final stage was to have my body being pulled up by “strings of paint”. The body appears to be levitating. My intention is to create the sense of a resurrection or an uprising. In addition to the colors, I decided that for my last choice of color, I wanted to add in the vibrancy of yellow because yellow carries a bold energy. It is so vibrant, it stimulates the brain therefore encouraging motivation and inspiration. It activates creativity, encourages self-expression, enhances concentration and revitalizes the mind.
Throughout the series, I used myself as a model in order to be able to showcase my concepts because if I were to use a different model other than myself, it would take away the personal depth and perspective aspect of the series. As the past few months have gone by, I was progressively working on the independent study and it is a developing series that builds and carries forward significant elements from one piece to another. And if one were to pay close attention to the pieces, they should be able to see that I draw my inspiration from old masters such as Pablo Picasso, in this case specifically the ‘Old Guitarist’. The Old Guitarist is one of my favorite paintings ever as it is so simple yet so powerful in meaning. I also draw inspiration from old masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh’s experimentation process, Salvador Dali’s play on perspective, and Pablo Picasso’s style and color palette.
My name is Marlene, but I go by “Miilo” (pronounced as ‘My-Low’). I’m an Artist, currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Quite often, people ask me, “What does art mean to you?” and my answer will never change, art is a part of me. It is all I know, everything I am and want to be. It is the origin base of my emotions and in my opinion, one of the best mediums of self-expression. I let my work to speak for itself. It wasn't and isn’t easy pursuing the artist's dream with all the obstacles and downfalls but that is what makes art worth all the struggles.
With each stage in my Life as An Artist, one tougher than the other, the challenges presented helped me get better. Most importantly, it helped me figure out my style, further enhance and cultivate new techniques that can be implemented into my work. It took a lot of time and patience to overcome each stage without completely relapsing and losing sight of my goals. Recently, I’ve found a groove that I’m slowly adapting to and in good time, everything will fall into place. Throughout my college career, I learned so much more about myself and my art outside of college. There were so many times and instances where I learned something new and managed to adapt that skill into my life for example, I’ve picked up and honed new skills like video editing, vlogging, promotional techniques, website building and social media marketing. Each skill was learned from an opportunity that presented itself. It broadens my perspective as well as enables me to apply these new ideas, techniques, styles and impressions into my art work. I have learned so much about website development and site hosting in the past few months.
As a creator, I want to share my art and part of my life with the world. I find it relieving and empowering. It allows me to explore further into my life and personally. Every piece I make is a step by step developing process. I learn new things from each piece and try to apply it to the next. Every failure, every success; all of these moments are crucial to the learning process. At the end of the day, I make my art for myself. I found a great source of everlasting inspiration and I will continue to explore into the depths in the life of an Artist. I am my own muse; the source of my inspiration, the heart and soul of my art. I am Miilo!