Stephen James from Manchester, UK is trying his best to survive in one of the United Kingdom's biggest cultural and capitalist hives on nothing more than art, the kindness of others and organisations that will pay him in food. www.folknwords.tumblr.com.
I want to make really destructive art. It looks immensely satisfying. I want to smash plates, throw balloons filled with paint against walls and rip other people’s work to shreds on stage and call the destruction artwork of my own. Too many other people get away with it, so why can’t I?
Making art, destructive or not, seems like the best way to get yourself across to all these people. It could be your pain or it could be your tremendous sense of self-worth; they seem to be what sells. Although I bet at least once a very nice, well-rounded chap has painted something and some so-called art expert, an interesting idea in itself, has assigned pain, or a tremendous sense of self-worth, which was more than likely their own, to it and the creator has been hailed as a genius. What is outsider art really? Surely self-expression is one of the few areas in which everybody is on a totally level playing field, for nobody has any more self than anybody else. Right?
I just want to make really destructive art. Why does writing have to be such a long and drawn out process? Is that just what kind of person I am? The kind of person who by all rationale should explode for all to see but refuses, instead choosing to break down every aspect of his madness into words; everything that will and was and could and should and would have been said and then putting them down on paper; a million witty reposts to a thousand things that were said in the heat of a moment now cold just so that everybody who never reads my words will understand the personal magnitude of a situation that nobody even paid any attention to at the time.
Destructive art would be so much easier. I put down my words on paper, read them, re-read them and then deem then unworthy, not good enough. My words are then lifted, rearranged and rewritten until they are maybe, just maybe, better than they were to start off with. The unworthy words are then destroyed, pulped, recycled. It is destruction but it is not art. I hope that my recycled pages are used to make something of use.
At least if I make destructive art then people won’t have a choice but to see. Because that’s the peculiar thing about art: if it’s big enough, then people can’t help but know it. I’ve never read Hamlet, Catcher in the Rye or any of the novels by Ian ‘boring-as-shit’ McEwan but I, along with just about everybody else in the world, can picture the Mona Lisa, Van Gough’s sunflowers and that stupid skull covered in diamonds by simply closing my eyes. I want to make really destructive art. I want to enjoy it. I want everybody to hear about it.
I want to make really destructive art. One shot, one chance, no drafts and definitely no rewrites. Once something has been destroyed it cannot be undone. You blink and you miss it. Art and then some more art and then some more and all you’re left with is a strange feeling in your gut and a mess left for somebody else to clean.
I’m going to make really destructive art. I say this now but I never follow through with any of my outrageous claims. I’m surprised these words have made it this far, spreading across the page, floating through the air, trying to work their way inside your head. But I have to; there is no point in expressing your loves, your hates, your fears and all of the other bullshit like this, even if it is in perfectly formed, or indeed beautifully fragmented sentences, broken utterances; stuttered or yelled. The prose can flowery and flow but nobody will ever know what you mean; it doesn't mean anything to anybody without your pitiful existence as a frame of reference. A frame of reference that is held by nobody but you- you arrogant, selfish bastard.
I should make really destructive art. I think that it would make me feel better.