Phantom Limbs

Sometimes I feel that if there is one thing that has characterised my life it would be an ambient level of identity crisis. Not feeling like I knew who I was, or what people expected of me. I used to think the game of life was about exploiting assumptions other people made about me. I discovered, for example, in high school English class that if I sat up the front and stayed quiet there was a general assumption that I was working on English work. The teacher didn’t need to know I was actually writing songs.

When I felt particularly bogged down in a seemingly never ending work project one night I just went, “Why am I here?! I AM A [expletive deleted] ARTIST!” That, of course, has been the other thread in my life. I’ve always thought I was an artist, in the broadest sense of the word. And I didn’t really need much supporting evidence to convince myself of such things. I was a songwriter before I could really play a lick of music. I was painting before I knew anything about art. I had this belief that all I needed to be an artist was a self to express. The technical details seemed incidental. And sometimes they were and sometimes they made me painfully aware of my limitations to the point where I’d feel ashamed for having produced whatever it was that I was creating.

I think at some point it became easier to not start things. And upon reflection it seemed to make sense at the time. I decided I should be a grown up and put away such silly youthful things. Work became busier and I stopped attending painting classes. I just didn’t have the time or the energy. I don’t know that I really had the energy to express myself. I don’t know that I really had a self left to express. The new me was a serious educator and not an art educator. And I think one of the biggest things I struggled with was coming to realise that I could do and be both, that they weren’t mutually exclusive. If anything the diversity would enrich my life and abilities.

I spent some time writing about video production recently and it opened the flood gates of memories largely forgotten. I remembered all my YouTube antics and started thinking about video as a narrative art form again.

Now only dogs follow me…


Possibly In Michigan
“Two women are chased through a shopping mall by a cannibal. 1983.”

I have been completely fascinated with this video too. It is an excerpt of a larger piece that you can watch at Vimeo.

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