Mine or Yours
“What does originality mean?”
Its a simple enough question, right? Surely everyone knows what originality means. And yet when asked, people will give very different answers to those of their neighbours. My understanding of it will be different to yours and yours different to your neighbour’s and so on, until we finally come to realise that it has no meaning. If no one can agree then how can it possibly be definable? And yet still people strive to possess this ever elusive concept. It's counter-intuitive. This is why so many critics and writers continue to proclaim its lack of importance, and that it is authenticity that truly matters.
But authenticity seems to be just as confusing as originality.
It has been my goal in my studies this year to find out for myself if originality does exist, what on earth authenticity means, and how one can obtain it.
I asked others for their opinions to see if there was a common thread in understanding. I asked them to control what I painted to see how it would effect an audience's perception of my originality and authenticity. I made paints, I made gessos, I wove canvases and I made paper to see if controlling the means of production had any effect.
But in the end it became apparent that the more I tried the further away I became from obtaining authenticity. Because I was altering my natural way of making things, when I relaxed and just made what I wanted, and interpreted the responses in my own way, the sense of me and my presence in the works became stronger.
My sketch books became a catalogue of my mind, detailing everything from random scribblings, to designs for family projects and thoughts on the survey responses.
I wrote a book about what it feels like to be me with drawings I would normally have censored out for fear of offending and being wrongly interpreted. I allowed my voice to show through no matter the consequences.
Because ultimately I have learned that to truly be authentic you have to show yourself; you have to be vulnerable.