It’s not an escape if you go there to heal. Your imagination is a refuge. It’s as much alive as any forest, and it is a place worth documenting and saving. It’s a place worth sharing and showing to others - so they remember that they have one too.
Documenting what “is” has a place. It’s easy to judge and evaluate something that is already “there”, something to agree about, or to be “right” about.
The danger in placing more value on realism is the fact that we are telling the truth, whether we like it or not, through our interactions each day, as told by our openness or closed-mindedness towards discovering new ways to see.
Realism leaves a small window to the outside world, and many times artists aim to see through that lens and fall short due to technical or spiritual deficiencies. When an artist does truly speak in realism, you’ll find that they use representation to say something beneath the skin of their subject.
This discussion brought to mind a quote by John Lennon. Lennon said “My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all”.
While realism remains an important discipline, and one of the various ways that enable an artist to “resolve his fragments in man’s subjectivity”, as Rothko said, it often does so at the expense of understanding the deeper nature of one’s own voice - trying to look “real” or “good” might get in the way of depicting a more honest reflection. These reflections are found in realms that can only be accessed in moments of thoughtful interpretation.
When you hear that voice and start to get to know it, you’ll hopefully stop caring about existing definitions of reality. You’ll use whatever means of representation that make sense. You’ll break rules, make mistakes, and let me tell you - it hurts. But the joy when you get that moment of recognition with a work is worth it. And when you share your work, and someone else gets it too, there’s a connection there that wasn’t there before. These are feelings and connections that can’t be bought - they MUST be made. This is the practice of humanity. There’s a responsibility to learn how to speak even more clearly, maybe even in multiple languages.
The sound of your voice has been there this whole time, and it matters.