You average Mormon artist gets married younger than the average artist and starts having children sooner as well. (I don’t have stats to back that up, but anecdotal evidence justifies assuming this is as true of Mormon artists as of Mormons in general.) One significant downside to accepting adult responsibility immediately upon becoming an adult is that responsibility takes up a lot of time. Time that could be spent creating art. (I’m about a quarter through a novel dealing with that issue, actually. At times, it feels a little personal.)
One of my favorite contemporary painters (and, full disclosure, friend of mine), Denise Gasser is currently shopping to galleries art that deals directly with this conflict between being a Responsible Mormon and being an Artist. From her statement:
. . . a series, Interrupted, which comprises over 200 paintings (5”x7”) on panel. . . . I paint each piece until it is finished, or until I am interrupted. Often my stopping point is the moment I cannot possibly continue painting through the interruptions. At that point I stop working, and cannot revisit that piece. On the back of each painting I carefully document the start time, the end time, and the nature of the interruption that forced me to stop. The duration of each painting ranges wildly, from under two minutes to over two hours. These hundreds of small paintings, in varying levels of completion, come together as a rich tapestry that gives the viewer a glimpse into the fragmented creative process I experience as an artist/mother.
Going small is part of the impulse behind the Mormon Lit Blitz—anyone can fit in writing 1000 words!—and an important part of sticking with the art for probably all Responsible Mormons sticking with the art path.
Here are two snatches of Interrupted pulled from Denise’s Facebook page. Then tell me your thoughts on this project in the comments.