Art in Purgatory: The Muses

“ut pictura poesis, “as is painting so is poetry.” —Horace

In the umbilical connection that is the poet and the artist, I wonder if each would agree, that one is as essential as the other. We can romanticize this connection by a million threads, and still end up naked. There are endless examples of such relationships in history. With love and passion at its core, it is a magick that can seldom be ignored. 

A piece of art evokes poetry by expansion. When you flip it, an artist can take a poem and utilize a line or a phrase and build upon it on their canvas. A writer is left with his/her personal perception, and in turn deciphers meaning from what is presented in front of them. There is tension at work when this method is used. While the artist is left to understand literal phrasing, a poet must scrutinize an artists strokes, much like the pen that writes the outcome. 

It’s all so romantic and gorgeous from afar, like silk on shaved skin, but that is a farce. The process by which an artist creates is anything but romantic, and anything but simple. When one is inspired by the other a tsunami is born; it is a squall of emotions that cannot be left alone. Artists navigate towards each other in search of ideas that have yet to be imagined. When two passionate minds collide, new universes are formed. It’s hard to not give in, to not indulge in its warmth. 

Still, it’s not easy. Scrutiny is an artists biggest enemy. Self doubt and self deprecation come in at a close second. It will take time to convince an artist that what they have to convey is of relevance. Now double that equation, and it’s an interesting conquest. 

First and foremost, they must be fans of one another; they must appreciate each others minds with gentle fervor. But things can get complicated when artists indulge in each others energy. It is intoxicating. It is a lit cigarette on the tip of a wet mouth. It is dangerous, but necessary. 

   pastel cityscapes
           burn as fast as 20 cigarettes

Unbosoming miles
   of baggage
           claimed by heavy codes, 

in the light of scraped skies

crowed reverence
                 spells out

                D e a t h
                circled silvered gaze
                    impends illusion

The eyes of eighty-two million pounds of concrete shaped
                clutches sunsets that reflect

Crushed by hair and chalk

                        Add it up to
                              make some sense

Math is handy
           when hands are stained
                               with sweat and shapes”

Vista Hermosa,  John Collins

Vista Hermosa, John Collins

An artist is always looking for inspiration. It is needed. It is the blood and pulse. 

When there is a lack of inspiration, this blood curdles. It turns thin and translucent. When it wanes, these fragile creatures are left pining for everything and anything that will inspire. In there lies the beauty of congenial alliances between the poet and the artist. That’s where they can derive nectar from each other in copious amounts, in hopes to become symbiotic.

When one is inspired by the other a tsunami is born; it is a squall of emotions that cannot be left alone.

This brings up an inevitable question. 

Are most artists inclined to only express themselves in one medium? 

Absolutely not.

When you think about it, engaging in another discipline opens the channels to expand on the initial practice. One needs the other. 

In order to write, the eyes must be stimulated. In order to paint, one must hear words of inspiration. In order to dance, one must be moved by the music. In order to play music, well, you get the picture...

The irony in being a so-called artist is to approach it as if you’re not an artist at all. Mostly because something that pulls you into its womb didn’t ask for permission. It is bigger than you, you are its vessel. Much like carrying around a child you never birth, but only nurture, an artist is tied to the human condition and seeks out a variety of ways to express that in abundance. 

When there is a mutual understanding that chunks of each other will be bitten off, a relationship between two artists becomes a tranquil homestead. A place where they can survive and thrive with limbs missing knowing that like the Axolotl, they will regenerate the parts gone astray, like a xerox machine.

"you Angels
you artists
you Earth Astronauts
you creators of beautiful things

you save the Earth
bit by bit
you make her
whole again

it's you who stimulates
& feeds her things
she's never tasted

it's you
who circle 8's her eyes
it's you who
fucks her straight to sleep

she thanks you
cause everyone's used her
everyone's been so careless
with her heart

her skin still burns
but you're the balm

she thanks you


as she soaks in lavender
& chews on sugarcane"

Toland Park , John Collins

Toland Park, John Collins