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6527212 August 18, 2010

Deal With It: Randy Thurman

"There is only one way I have found to deal with it - WORK!" 

This morning I woke up wondering why the hell I keep writing this blog. While the traffic is good, it needs to be better. While I seem to have a lot of regular readers, they don't often leave comments.

I guess I do it mostly for myself. In the past, I've written about how blogs seem a bit self centered. Maybe that's my issue. 

My guest today, artist Randy Thurman, says that working helps him deal with folks not understanding his creative drive. Working helps people like Randy and I deal with a lot. I suppose that's why writing this blog is good for me whether or not anyone actually  reads it.

Maybe rather than selfishness, Aberration Nation is driven by self preservation, like eating a healthy breakfast, going to an AA meeting, or taking medicine.

So what if most people don't understand? They don't have my disease.

Although I'm currently working on my fourth novel and also painting, the blog helps me feel connected. It also offers me a way to express myself through a nonfiction outlet. It often reminds me of all the years I kept a journal. I guess I did all that work that for the same reason. No matter what, writing helps me think. It helps me decide and define how I feel and who I am.  The interviews teach me a tremendous amount, and give me prompts.

I need to write to occupy my mind to a certain degree. I need characters and places and situations to mentally weed and wade through because doing so focuses an overactive imagination and a highly obsessive element that has gotten me into trouble more than once. No matter what ails me, working is the medicine I need.  Whether it's writing or painting, creating and expressing myself in these ways gives me both the soothing feeling and the rush I crave.

I may never know what's wrong with me--why I need these sort of meds. I don't know why I sit here writing words that very few folks care to read. I don't know why I have all these paintings stuffed in my house, or why I keep writing novel and after novel that may never be published.

It just helps me deal with it, whatever it may be. If you have anything to say about it, leave a comment.

What's your story? How long did it take to establish yourself as an artist? Was the journey on a straight or twisted path? Are you surprised by your success?

My story really begins in March 2006 when I had a health crisis that changed the direction of my life. Instead of focusing on the restrictions of my health, I immersed myself in painting and music, which had always been integral parts of who I am.

Even before the illness, my wife had urged me to show my work, but I had always declined. Reluctantly I said "OK" and she sent some of my work to Bob Hogge and Marina Hadley at Monkdogz. Then in January 2007 I had my first exhibition at their gallery in Chelsea New York. That's how it started.

With regard to your current creative focus, was there an "ah-ha" moment you can tell us about?

A succession of "ah-ha" moments would better describe how my creative process has evolved to where I am now. For me the "ah-ha" moments are just acknowledgments of what I already subconsciously know.

For you, is art more about creation or expression? It could be both, but does one dominate with regard to your need/urge/desire to be an artist and why?

If it is possible to separate creation and expression, different artists might consider one more important than the other, but for me they are interdependent and of equal value. To me, expression is the fulfillment of the creation.

Many artist focus on one particular subject or style. How important is this for career development? Have you ever grown tired of painting the same types of things, and if so, can you tell us about it?

I have explored different styles in both my painting and musical compositions. Those experiences led me to my current focus. Success in following one or more styles really depends on the individual artist. For me, painting and music have always provided inspiration for each other. That has always been a natural part of my creative process. Professionally, several exhibitions of my work have also included my musical compositions. Each has opened opportunities for the other. For me it works.

Do you believe some of the various attributes related to being highly creative have caused you aberrations in life, helped you deal with life's aberrations, or both?

There are many factors that condition our ability to interact with or connect with other people. Being highly creative can certainly be one of those factors. At times it caused feelings of separation and isolation for me. Then through exhibiting my work I was able to make connections with other highly creative people who have experienced some of the same aberrations.

During difficult or challenging times in your life, does painting sooth or inspire you? Is it therapeutic in any way?

The actual physical part of painting has never been soothing or calming for me. The process is very intense and focused. It's more like an adrenaline rush.

Have you ever had to deal with people in your life failing to understand your creative personality, interests, or drive? If so, can you tell us about it and how you've dealt with it?

I think it is a situation that all truly gifted people experience. You have to have confidence in your work and your ability in order to push through it. There is only one way I have found to deal with it - WORK!

Have you developed a specific creative process that enables you to meet your artistic goals? If so, can you tell us about it. Where do most of your ideas come from?

If I have a creative process it is visualization first, then finding a way to make that vision tangible. Resourcefulness is key to using whatever means necessary for achieving that goal. For me it varies and is constantly evolving. I basically follow my intuition.

What do you believe places an artist apart from his or her peers? So many are highly talented, but what makes one stand out as truly gifted?

All highly talented artists possess a strong intuitive sense of their surroundings. What makes an artist stand out as truly gifted is having the courage to follow that intuition and the determination to see it through. They heed the call.

What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?

I don't really have a specific motto or mantra. The qualities I value are having confidence in your ability, accuracy in your intent, and the tenacity to follow through.

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