I was cruising around the Internet looking for reviews of a conference I attended and exhibited at several months ago and found a write up of it that looked interesting. Although the article seemed to be the blinkered and very subjective view of someone who seemingly had a fundamentalist Christian attitude towards art and spiritual expression, I accepted it as a personal if rather unsavoury opinion.
However as I read further, I realised that for some reason the writer had focused so strongly on my presentation and art,it dominated the review.
He had taken several clandestine photographs of me at the event in question. He obviously had later conducted a very thorough internet search of my work, which he printed in the article, as well as publishing further photographs of me. All of this was captioned with derogatory commentary.
It was a little disconcerting especially as it was done with obvious malice and hostility, along with what I view to be a misinterpretation of my approach. I suspect however, that he has a personal perspective that I wouldn’t want to argue with (or promote by giving the link to said article).
I’m a bit thrown that out of the group of interesting speakers and artists that were at this event, I was chosen for particular attention.
Putting aside my opinion of myself as a quiet, relatively conservative albeit slightly eccentric, middle-aged woman, and bearing in mind the reviewer’s rabidly fundamentalist attitudes and misogyny, I suspect that my creative and spiritual focus near inevitably opens me up to such attention.This is purely by benefit of putting myself in the public arena (although of course we never ‘ask for it’ in terms of negativity and vitriol but we are dealing with human reactive nature here). So why, as a self professed part time hermit and all around shy person, do I adopt such a public persona?
Simply enough, if I want to sell my books and my art and live a life that makes this possible, it is necessary.
I’ve no desire for fame or notoriety, even in the tiniest dose, and I find focus on me uncomfortable. I must say however that it has caused a huge growth in personal confidence as I learn to integrate my more natural reticence with the public, confident persona that I step into when putting my art and words ‘out there’.
I tread wary around intimate relationships with people I have met through my art, as I’ve found that these bonds can be illusory and sometimes volatile. I stick to close relationships with those who know me at core…a small group of gentle, off beat friends who are woven from the same cloth as myself.
Of course I challenge myself on occasion to explore other social realms, but always try to remain centred and pragmatic, and not take things too much to heart if unpleasantness arises, although admittedly I have had times when I’ve been horribly upset and disturbed by personal attacks.
If I project myself outwards, I lose an element of control over how I am perceived, but at this point in time it is a risk I choose to take.