My name is Brantley and I am married to an artist. Her name is Kim. Living with an artist is a turbulently beautiful journey. I like to think that I am creative and even artistic sometimes, but I am no artist.
An artist is a person who is so compelled to do their work that they can literally do nothing else. In the beginning, this was hard for me to understand. I have always had a linear view of life. My behavior has always been causal. Do the thing for a reason that moves you toward the end result. This is not the perspective of the artist.
Before living with an artist, I had two mental depictions of an artist. One - A wealthy middle-aged woman painting in a fabulous home studio with beautiful sunlight and stunning plants. Two - A recent SCAD graduate bartending in a trendy restaurant here in Savannah, GA. Stereotype much!
A true artist is a perfect dichotomy. They are light and dark. They are male and female. They are powerful beyond belief and they are snowflake frail. Artists are precious because they are rare.
If you ever meet Kim at an art show, you will most likely be treated to the powerful version. However, when you live with another person you see all of their faces. Kim has a deeply fragile side that I have known in no one else.
Kim can paint for very long periods of time, often staying at her easel for over 10 straight hours. A non-artist person cannot do this. Interestingly, Kim doesn't stay there brush stroke after brush stroke because she wants to, she stays because she has to. Imagine having hundreds of precious screaming children living inside you all longing to escape. You must liberate them every day. If you do not the inner-turmoil will slowly creep into your bones.
Sometimes the birthing of Kim's paintings are sweet and joyous. Sometimes they are dark and difficult. In either case, they are always exhausting but deeply nurturing at the same time.
When an artist creates, they are exposing their soul. They are hanging their inner-most selves on the wall for everyone to see. This is not an act of vanity. When an artist creates, it is the action of the universe flowing through and being filtered by the artist. It is the embodiment of the fully conscious mind. The end product is a wonderful drop of nectar squeezed directly from the cosmos.
Art of every kind is an expression of all that we are as humans. It is inside every one of us. However, the journey in to extract it is not for the feign of heart. This is why so many of us enjoy what so few of us create.
I have always had a job. This is a very sensitive topic with artists. Many people just don't consider being an artist a "real job". I would agree. Kim doesn't go to a job with the end-goal of making money. She doesn't go do something that she would probably not be doing if she didn't have to. Kim is living her life in the only way possible, there simply is no other alternative. But think about it, which would you rather have, a job or a life?
It is a humble honor to participate in the life of an artist. To live so closely with someone living the truest version of themselves is inspiring and freeing in many ways. Art has to happen. It will happen no matter what. It is happening all around the world all the time. And, it's all the same, an expression of our common consciousness, our common emotions.
I still have a job but I have a different outlook on life now. I have the sense now that life is circular rather than linear. I feel like I am a part of something so much larger now. I am taking the advice of one of my favorite artists Hunter S. Thompson. I am taking the ride!