The title of this post suggests I'd be illustrating a song by a band with that name from Phoenix, Arizona. They're really great, I love that band, (I'm listening to their LP Music for Dreaming as I write this) but no, they didn't make it into the Top 100 2020. The title above, rather, signifies my own bouts with mental illness. During a random web browsing session (on Reddit, of all places) I came across an image, a portrait, created by a patient of a psychiatric institute. Immediately I could empathize and identify with the maker of this portrait. I thought this portrait was the best I've seen if it comes to current activities within the medium of drawing. Looking at this drawing caused me to self-reflect, to wonder why I was so attracted to this drawing, why this drawing, of all of the hundreds of drawings I've seen in the past weeks, stood out to me as being real. The drawing reminded me of drawings I had done in the past during states of utterly despair, utter drunkenness, or utter whatever, drawings that in retrospect belong to my drawings I cherish most. The drawing made me realize I was one of them too. How I've worked so hard to be considered normal, fitting in into the world of contemporary art, how I rationalized works I've made, how I pretended, over the years, to be a voice of academic endeavors that came to define my identity. But I ignored those aspects that were off in this picture, that didn't fit my manufactured existence, aspects that really make me the person I am. Looking back at some works from my past, I recognize things I was ashamed of, embarressed, but some of these things represented me as I am, no matter how I rejected them. A few days ago, when I wrote about the Sakalava spear thrower, I derided myself for the image I selected to draw. What happened next was that I again selected an image of a spear thrower, again somewhat too exotic, out of context (from a different time) than the music I was representing. There are two sides to one's identity: what you think of what's right, and what you feel. What one feels is really not in accordance to how one perceives themselves. Experience doesn't accord to knowledge very well. You experience the world to be flat but you know for a fact it's round.
Batak krijgers met speren Tropen Museum
The song, btw, I'm illustrating here is called Ile Ile, performed by Ropaoen Batoebare, recorded by Raden Suwanto in 1950 on the Island of Sumatra. Rapaoen Batoebare belongs to the Batak people. The album the song appeared on is Music from Indonesia on Folkways.