Wednesday 28 August 2019

The fulfilment of creative work

The fulfilment of creative work

As a senior citizen of 86, I seem to be bucking the trend. Even people twenty-five years younger are dying to retire, to stop working and receive a pension, as though that is the purpose of life. I know very well that many people have good reasons to "take it easy", those in poor health, or with work-related injuries. More and more are burned out. But the widespread idea that work is by definition a penance, a boring chore and that we shall all be happier if we work less is a sad misconception. 

A recent national Dutch television series on Nieuwsuur featured me briefly in their discussion of the predicaments and risks of those facing the age of retirement, those forced to retire against their wishes and those who have to keep working to make ends meet. For Dutch speakers, here's the link: I appear at 17.00 mins and 29.04 mins.
  Standing in my projected images. Photo: Marijn Duintjer-Tebbens
Typically, artists don't know what "retirement" means. Their creative work springs from a lifelong inner necessity, a spiritual and emotional need. Even though my own so-called "work" is actually quite demanding, it's also my therapy, my inspiration, my passion, my fulfilment. So why should I stop doing what I love? I would miss my studio terribly, full of the vibes of so many projects. Usually inspired by music, the surprising beauty of what comes from my paintbrush delights and nurtures me and when I'm in the state of creative Flow (see the link to this concept ) I lose all sense of time
I hope that in my recent three and a half minutes of screen time I've been able to pass on just a hint of the therapeutic benefits of creative work "flow" to some of the 628.000 viewers and to inspire and convince more pensioners of our need to stay active. It does us all so much good in mind and body.

Having said all that, I must confess that there's another motivation for me to go on producing and hopefully selling my work. It's simply that, with only a modest pension, I still need to earn a living. Then comes the tricky question: "So when you win the lottery, of course you won't need to work any more, will you?" Aaah ...... wait a minute!

                                     An short improvisation for the camera
Admittedly, it would be great to rent a larger studio without worrying about the costs; I could also rent an apartment with a lift, although I would miss the daily climb of sixty-one steps to my fourth floor that keeps me fit; I could travel a little more, not without a sketchbook in hand for creative jottings.

But to answer your question: No, I just can't imagine life without the inner drive to create and to share. For me, work is a basic need.

Projection of a kinetic painting from a performance of Shostakovich' Hamlet Suite