Creativity Conflicted

Guest Blogger: Rita Ashley

Copy of rita blows nyThere is an unrestful silence now. The reception for my exhibit of my first art photos was yesterday; a day for meeting fellow artists and many visitors to the obscure gallery in Ashland, OR. The unrest? My reaction to much praise, no purchase.

It seems, for me, the whole process of creativity is complicated not with the vain notion of recognition, but with the practical notion of sales.
A very wise artist reminded me, yesterday, that while she really loves my work, she could not live with it every day. I was startled by her reality, but realize, she is spot on. Sometimes, what I create is genuinely remarkable, but for that very reason, not commercial. I am not soothed by comments like, “It takes a special buyer.”

So when I return to my life of photo outings and the solitary job of photo processing, I am uninspired. To focus on that which might sell inhibits the very creative impulse that forces me to pick up the camera. Other artists tell me to stop focusing on selling and just create. I am not of that ilk. I need to feel my work will be viewed, enjoyed, shared; purchased. But I cannot become a hack, a hypocrite. I am ambivalent.

Today, much later, my creative blood quickened when the sun cast a perfect rainbow on the carpet as light seethed through the glass prism on the sill. I reached for my camera and lost myself in seeing the unusual and magical in that special, evanescent dance of light and color. I lost all notion of sales or commercial. I just wanted to capture what I saw, knowing it is different from what other’s might see and capture. And for now, that is more than enough.

Here’s a glimpse into how the ordinary becomes unique in my world:

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From this paperweight                      Came this image                Then this abstract

Rita Ashley is a high tech veteran who recently emerged as an artist and writer. Her father gave her a camera when she was ten and she has never been without one since. Not content to do what others have done, she is constantly experimenting with new forms of photographic expression. She currently has two gallery exhibits and has won awards for images that portray the details she sees in ordinary objects. When people say, “I never saw that,” she is pleased. Ms. Ashley’s literary efforts include work on a fictionalized account of her Grandfather’s travails as an Eastern European immigrant to the United States beginning in 1912 and revisions of her business books, “Job Search Debugged,” and “Networking Debugged.” When she is not focused on photography or writing, Ms. Ashley coaches executives to solve problems, build leadership skills and conduct an effective job search.

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