To be an Artist

I pulled into the strip mall parking lot. The sun had gone down and night crushed orange colors from the sky. The Goodwill was packed and the Dollar Store’s lights flooded the sidewalk. I paused in after shutting the truck door. The silhouette of a water tower with its red light on top flashing next to a cell tower “camouflaged” to look like a tree caught my attention. I tool out my camera and tried to get a picture. It’s a film camera and I’ve just started shooting photos. I still searching for my aesthetic, so I’m experimenting and just photographing whatever catches my eye. From the ground the angle was wrong to me, so I ended up standing on the roof of my truck with the camera on a tripod for the long exposures needed. Light drained from the sky and I knew it’d be over soon, so I took several different shots. When I stopped and readied to get off the roof of the truck I noticed several people staring at me. One little kid had her head turned over her shoulder as her mom pulled her along. An old man shook his head. Another man smiled and kept moving, while others waited, as if they expected I were going to jump. I didn’t care. Some might think I’m foolish, some might think I’m cool, some my not give a crap one way or the other and still it doesn’t matter. I laughed a little as that week I had sprawled out on my belly in an oil field a few times to get the shot I wanted. Not even the threat of oilfield trash derision makes me pause. I contemplated later if that’s one of the qualities that makes an artist. To not care what others think as you pursue your art and vision. It is that same whether our art is dance, novels, poetry, filmmaking, painting, photography or whatever. We artists do what we do even if it gathers a crowd, for some because it does gather a crowd. I think we do it too because we might also spark the curiosity of kid who can’t stop looking over her shoulder.

The Two Towers

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