The Personal Mythology of Fear

The vastness of the universe can only be equaled in the vastness of human experience and I am disoriented by the sheer immensity of it all. In my art, I look to explore that disorientation, the disquiet it can bring, and the ways that humanity confronts these emotions. 

My earlier work in drawing and painting sought to bring the unknowable into the spaces I inhabit. I searched for order and meaning in infinite chaos, desperately reaching through walls to try to grasp at something I could not quite comprehend. I have since realized that order is not exactly what I was seeking. Instead, in the ever-expanding chill of the unknown, what I sought and continue to seek is a sense of control; the ability to shape my world and contain my fears. Much like talismans, the objects I envision and craft allow for a feeling of influence over the random and uncontrollable. The process does so both in the ritual of creating the objects, in that I am the creator and therefore very literally in control, as well as in the sense of warding off the worry the object represents in the manner of a traditional talisman. 

In his essay, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity, Bertrand Russel says that fears have mythmaking powers. Though he is referring to collective fears, I believe that this power applies on an individual level as well. We often build up fears in our minds from minor concern to terrifying monster. Alongside acting as a ritual which gives the impression of control in a random existence, the pieces I create act as vessels to contain fears. The terror deflates somewhat when it is encapsulated in something pocket-sized. Thus, my worries are something I carry with me, but physically, in my pocket or on a chain. They become a tangible object rather than a looming shadow, making the unknown known, at least to myself if not to anyone else. 

Finally, creating these worry talismans is an affirmation of my connection with others through the common human experience of fear. The universe is very big and my existence may be infinitesimally small by comparison, but I am not alone. I am interested in isolation because I have always viewed art as a means of connection. I am afraid of the randomness of existence and the unknowable nature of my own future. I make art that encapsulates that feeling and strives to ameliorate it by reaching out to others. If there is one thing I have learned in my life about anxieties, it is that expression helps lessen them. I use my art to express personal and collective fears and worries, creating a personal mythology of my fears and connecting to others through the stories we share. Thus, the pieces I am creating are a tangible reminder that even in the vast, we can create connection. We are not alone.