Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Do You Need to Express Yourself?

When I met Momo at The Grand Hyatt Hotel years ago, he was my connection to Paris, France. I was going there to audition for Marcel Marceau's school. He was a businessman (someone who my sister knew from her office job), someone who lived in Paris - an Algerian businessman with about eight sisters and brothers.

"Whatever you need when you get to Paris...just call me!", he promised. "Why do you want to be an actress -- a mime?", he questioned me. My Sugar Daddy? Not quite. When I got to Paris, Momo was so hard to reach...I remember being on a payphone, rain pounding, begging him to help me. The apartment I was in for one week was not available anymore.

"I need to express myself.", I had responded. I surprised myself with my response. I wondered what I meant........I need to express myself???

I now know that my mind and body were filled to the top with ideas, impressions - visuals and sounds. It was spilling over. I sensed that I needed to get some of this out and put it into a form. I couldn't put this into words and realized many others did not relate. I seemed odd - different - not a person conforming to the "norms". Many seem puzzled when I made my far-reaching connections. Nonsequitors to them. A discovery to me. I craved understanding - reinforcement. I didn't want to conform.

I learned a curious term a couple years ago...."Outsider Art". Supposedly, this term is used to label one who suffers an emotional illness who has never studied formally who creates "outsider art". How strange. I dislike this terminology. I did study formally, but also suffered very serious depressions.

The reason I object to this term is it is prejudice. Who is judging these artists in such a rejecting way?

I believe creation comes from within the depth of one's being. Perhaps "high or intense " emotionality is the conduit of an artform. However, how sad to label it "outsider art".

Now, I am looking at my living room. It is a projection of my mind. Books are spilling off the shelves. A room divider is leaning on a slant against the wall. The walls are a Benjamen Moore "Sunkist" color. "It looks like tomato soup", a friend remarks. The living room has a western exposure and I always like the way the light streams in at sunset. A painting of a mother sitting looking at her child is framed in gold leaf. The diploma from Columbia University hangs from another wall an attestment to all the reading and writing and years of study framed in a gold-leaf floral design my dear brother bought for me; he took me to the frame store and told me to pick whatever frame I wanted. The case holding the t.v. is wobbly. I am neglecting housecleaning, because I get home from work spent.

All this information tells me who I am and what I need to do. Focus! Get unwobbly! And...for goodness sakes...Get a cleaning person in!!!


Chris B. said...


You gave me some ideas about what to write for my own blog.

Perhaps we can have a "marathon," one day where three of us bloggers (you, Kate and I) write on a common theme, to see how we approach it.

The term "outsider art" is demeaning, as if the artists are relegated to life on the margins, and aren't included in society.

That has to change.

Loved your description of your apartment. Will write in my own blog today about my own creative mess.


nancy said...


Thanks for reading and writing my blog.

I would LOVE to have a marathon on a theme! Sounds interesting and fun.

Yeah! I thought you would relate. I wonder who coined the phrase "outsider art". No space for someone who is talented without formal training to be recognized. Our society usually is enamored by the very talented self-taught.

Glad you liked the description of my creative mess.


Darlene said...

Hi Nancy,

I like that term "creative mess". It's going to be a staple in my vocabulary :)

I love the idea of a marathon. I hope you all link here so we can read them.

nancy said...


Hi. Glad you liked the term "creative mess".
Chris came up with the idea of a the ball is "in her court". Not really sure if there is a format for a "marathon". Anyway...I am an adventurer and "I'm in!"
Join us if you want or just read it! I will blog about it when I know more details so you will know where to look for it.