“I’m an artist.”
“What kind of art do you do?”
“Everything. Everything and nothing?”
“No modesty then.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant…it doesn’t matter.”
“Hey, I’m sorry. I was just teasing. Tell me what you meant.”
“I don't like being defined. I don't like materials telling me who I am. I don't like people telling me the direction I should be going in. I need to hear the voice from inside, outside, somewhere else. The voice that says ... this is important ... do this now ... stop everything ... literally everything ... and do it now. If you hesitate, you're fucked. If you get distracted, the moment has gone! Does that make sense?”
He stared at the earnest intensity on the face of the artist. Big staring unblinking eyes. It looked as if he had so much to say, and so little time to say it in, as if he was afraid this life would be too short, too brief, too tragic. There was a wild electricity in the room, cold blue steel whiplashes of energy, of need, of an endless, always endless restlessness. Did this artist ever sleep? This was a soul that had a real physical urge to create, and to create fast, to get as much of himself out there as possible, before he what? Fell empty? Died? How potentially sad, and yet how instantly thrilling.
“Yes, it makes sense.”
There was a sigh of relief.
“I’m not always good at conversation.”
“I think you’re doing fine.”
“But I get frustrated, I get emotionally tangled. Most of the time I can’t get people to understand. I think they get me, and then I realise they don’t. They'll love the work I think nothing much of, and be indifferent to the work that really means something, that really makes a difference. How can that be?"
More silence. What was there really to say.
"So when are you happy? When are you really content?"
"That's easy, when I'm working. It's the only time I'm really alive, when I'm left alone with me, my work, and my thoughts."
"You're an artist."
He smiled. "Yes, I guess I am."