puzzle pieces from the clay
when i was eight my best friend told me my lips were too small for my face. lying on my trampoline at midnight with the moon silver and brighter than the dimes in a water fountain, high in the polluted sky. daring each other to tell the truth, face to face, what do you really think of me? point out the things i don't want to see. so i asked you what my best feature was and when you said 'your eyes' i said i always liked my lips best. i think i liked myself before i met you, before i learned what it meant to pick things apart aesthetically trying to find the way they fit together perfectly. i don't fit together perfectly, welcome to the mess of me, but i'll be damned if it isn't a beautiful mess. like everyone is. you fit together like puzzles that have the pieces from five different pictures: maybe the pieces line up but the end result isn't anything solid, it's chaotic and surreal, but something wonderful. maybe when you're born you start out as one whole puzzle box with all the right pieces, maybe when you're young you're whole and easy to complete. but you grow and run into other puzzles, all the pieces get traded around, you take pieces from other puzzles and give parts of yours away. you rebuild yourself in new ways with new pictures, you come out of it incoherent but something mysterious and complicated, real in a way that perfection can never touch. you become a picture unlike any other. maybe everyone starts out as a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of a monet painting but by the time you're finished, you aren't any artist's painting, YOU are the painting. you are yourself a piece of artwork created with layers, quixotic and undefinable. something better than jackson pollock's acrylic spit or a cubist nightmare. better than curious smiles and melting clocks. so i can stare all day at a painting and maybe find it interesting, but never once will i want to dive into it the way i want to dive into every living being, pull it apart the way i want to decipher the clockwork of the human mind. it is endless what you find inside the cogs that create and spin eternally as the species perpetuates itself through the artwork that leaves behind a faint imprint of the depth of the human psyche. this is egotism at its finest, testing the waters to see how humanity changes through the centuries only to find out that we don't at all. what changes is the surface and how it looks from the outside, the ideals of society and moral values, but at the core people have been thinking and feeling the same things for centuries. the backdrop changes but the story is the same. this is what we struggle with, trying to find uniqueness within a species that is homogenized and yet individualistic, where creation is meant to be an expression of individual interpretations and experiences but society as a whole values creativity and artwork for its ability to be relateable to a wide audience. as an artist, both now and in the past, if your work does not connect with the viewers, it is worthless. so what is there truly to the individual who creates what is unique to them but somehow is also meaningful to the population at large? perhaps it is all a matter of interpretation and art becomes meaningful to us because of whatever image we create out of it in our own minds. maybe individuality comes from the ability to look at things from unique perspectives and make them relateable to our own situations regardless of what they have meant to the original artist. the artist becomes the story, the story becomes us, the story perpetuates and is passed down to other generations who continue to reinterpret it to fit the way they see the world. this is how we shape things.