Art Obsession

The great thing about art is that you don’t have to be very good at it to enjoy it.  Art doesn’t have to be realistic, it doesn’t have to conform to any rules at all, for it to accomplish its goal of being art.  Art simply needs to evoke feelings from the viewer, or even to the artist for it to be meaningful.  One doesn’t have to like the art, one doesn’t even have to think the artist is talented for art to exist.  I’ve never thought I was talented at art, but I am seriously obsessed with it.  Most artists I know don’t think too highly of their work either.  Artists tend to be perfectionists.  Most work would likely never be seen if it weren’t for the fact that most artist’s need to express themselves overrides their sense of perfectionism.

I don’t really believe that my work is all that great.  That said, I am obsessed with doing it anyway.  It isn’t just the distraction from the trash TV either.  I have a need to create.  A need to try forms of expression.  I only consider myself any good at one or two, but that doesn’t stop me from bouncing from one way to create art, to the next.  Here is my attempt at painting a forest scene with oils on canvas.  I love to paint, despite work like this.

My attempt at pine trees
My attempt at pine trees

I also love to write and play music.  I’m a pretty good drummer (we prefer percussionist) and I fool around a bit on guitar.  I am by no means a great guitar player, but I can strum enough to write.  The problems there come in with my lyrics (trite) and my singing (Peter Brady).  Still, I have notebooks full of half-finished songs, some complete songs that are technically never complete because I revise them constantly, and song riffs that have yet to be developed.  I have one or two ready enough that I have the instrumentation recorded but I need to find a singer to sing them for me.  I will likely ask that singer to come up with better lyrics along the theme I was writing.  But then, I’d have to play them for someone I thought actually talented enough to help, and I’m not sure I could do that.  The playing and writing helps me stay sane, even if the songs never get done.

Playing guitar in the hospital during the really bad times.
Playing guitar in the hospital during the really bad times.

I am a pretty good drummer though.  I wasn’t always, it took me a long time to get locked in (I used to rush the tempo a lot), it took a long time to really feel coordinated, and it took me a long time to be able to have some exciting fills.  I was always good at coming up with unique beats and can play really fast when called for.  I’ve also always been proud of my dynamic range (I don’t just try and blow out eardrums, unless called for).  My first band opened for some bands that are known, and are some of my musical idols.  We saw some decent local and regional success for a while.  I’ve gotten a lot better since then, but have never been in a band quite as good.  We split up, but not too long before I got sick, we played a reunion show, in benefit for the guitar player and co-singer/co-writer who was fighting cancer.  Sadly, Dale did not make it.  I was in some form of a band with him from 15 through to my mid-twenties.  He was like an older brother, and despite our differences and some of the fights, I miss him all the time.  I was diagnosed with my own cancer shortly after our final show together.  Here is a picture of me from the benefit.

Me playing with Sprout at the Marianarchy benefit for Dale.
Me playing with Sprout at the Marianarchy benefit for Dale.

Then of course there is my blog-type-thing.  Despite the fact that this is just mostly the rambling thoughts of me, it is another form of artistic expression that I am obsessed with.  When I feel inspired I may write posts for quite some time if I have energy.  Even though I typically post daily I usually write more than one on some days, and may not write at all on other days.  Unfortunately for you, my dear reader(s), I usually end up trashing a lot of the posts I think may be better art, in favor of posts that are less personal.  This week I have no posts in queue because I have been even more fatigued than usual and/or wrapped up in another project.

I like to make things with wood as well.  I have a Dremmel, and used to have a scroll saw so I’d make little boxes or things with them.  I particularly like making Celtic or Irish designs.  I am fascinated with all things Ireland, and want to go there as soon as I can possibly manage.  I’m not someone who claims to be Irish (only about 1/4 of my ancestry can be traced back to there), I just love everything I’ve ever seen about it.  When we move, I will decorate the kitchen like the Irish pubs I have been to.  This is a jewelry box I made for my mom.

box with top on
box with top on
box interior with lid to the side
box interior with lid to the side

So these are just some of the things I am obsessed with creating.  As you can see, I’m not really great at these things that I’m obsessed with, but that’s okay.  I still feed this obsession because I need to create something to add to this world.  A few people may even like what I create, and I love that.

Even if every single person thought every form of artistic expression I have ever created is complete and utter junk, I will keep going.  Art is wonderful because it is very subjective.  What might be crap to you may be gold to someone else.  If you are obsessed, even if you aren’t proud of your work, keep going, because if you enjoy creating it, it has done its job.


Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

18 thoughts on “Art Obsession”

  1. Ahh, the eternal struggle of the artist labeling themselves as such. Damn, brother…. this hits home.

    I’ve recently picked up photography, and have taken close to 20,000 pictures, and I only feel one or two are decent… and even those are out of focus…

    Thanks for this post, it’s a great reminder that we do this thing for ourselves, and not for others!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally get it (as you’ve probably guessed). There was a time when I made art and craft for shows, for the approval of other people, always trying to be the new big thing (and never quite making it.) And I burned out. Now I’m making so much, and just doing whatever strikes me in the moment. I love that.


  3. It’s always my least favorite paintings that sell, so art is definitely subjective. And even if nobody ever sees it, it’s therapeutic. Love the pine trees. Keep it up. Looking forward to hearing some of the music someday.

    Liked by 1 person

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