I've been thinking a lot about balance this week. What does it mean for an artist to be balanced?
This week, I attended the Annual Student Art Show at Cedar International School where I taught for several years before returning to full-time artist status. At the show, I was speaking with Linda Steinburga, the high school Visual Arts teacher and a fellow artist. We were commenting on some of the Diploma Programme students' work, and how it has been difficult for both of us as teachers to get the students thinking outside their small island habitat and draw upon outside influences, such as their international travels. (The majority of these students travel often.) Much of their work is informed only by Caribbean imagery. Linda concluded that in such an environment as a small tropical island, life can be very unbalanced: a lot of nature to experience and little else.
In agreement, I conveyed to Linda how crucial it is to my own work that I travel often, even if only to the US mainland to gain input, refresh the spirit, experience art in a gallery or museum, see the "real world" again. Linda herself is eager to return to Latvia at the end of school where she says there is balance and more opportunities for creative input.
I suppose this is a concern for any artist, regardless of where one calls home. If you don't receive adequate input, then you won't have substantial results and you therefore become unbalanced; and being out of balance is a sure way to stagnate . It's a constant struggle for me, finding that balance when I start to feel trapped in paradise.
It's like being stuck on Gilligan's Island, lush with the beauty of nature but little else, a time-warped place where change occurs very slowly and personal growth can become stunted. This is an art teacher's challenge and the artist's potential enemy.