Have you ever felt like your art is no longer yours? For the past few months, my mental tug of war was taking me from loving my art to finding it stagnant. I was going through the motions of wanting to sit and do henna the entire day to letting it simmer in the end of my to-do list. That brought upon a lot of reflection and thought.
Henna has been my safe haven since it re-entered my life as an adult. It is safe to say, it allowed me to see life as it is: see its tough lessons, and appreciate its beauty. My art expression is of the kind that disappears. I do not see it except when it is finished being applied or when it was momentarily captured behind the lens of the camera. A quick flip of the phone as the paste dries before my client leaves. That flipping of the phone became routine.
Do henna, take a photo, post online. Do henna, take a photo, post online.
If you know me at all, you know that routine is what robs my life of joy. This might be a bit of an exaggeration but it still is not too far from reality. Once I noticed that things were getting too routine, I began to feel that the art was acting strangely. Like it was no longer mine. Like it was all about being shared and uploaded. And “liked” and “hearted” and nothing more than an algorithm on Facebook and Instagram. That is when I decided to make a change. This might not be the wisest change in the eyes of the business world. But I took the plunge and got my art back.
I decided to no longer post photos of my artwork from my sessions online. My clients are now my clients and fellow henna-lovers again. We spend our time together, sharing our feelings and emotions, them expressing themselves through words, and me through my art. It is an exchange untainted by intrusion. She leaves the session decorated, sharing the art with only those who she wishes. I no longer take photos even for me. My sessions are back to being for the art alone – the exchange between two bodies, moments of happiness, of shared sadness, of excitements and of joy. That is it.
As I mentioned, this might not be the business savvy move, but it is a move for the art itself. It might even be a little selfish, the act of keeping it all to myself. But there is that mystery with it, that curiosity, that brings it alive. My joy is re-ignited before every session again. It is no longer hiding behind chores of the day. Rather, it is my passion again.
And I love it.