PSYCH OUT: Julian Feeld
Psych Out is an ongoing series on the topic of fear & creativity.
In response to many of our readers expressing that fear often blocked their creative flow, Seymour asked a variety of entrepreneurs and artists to share their experience in their own words. Discover how they get over anxiety and self-doubt and find the strength to move forward with their projects.
JULIAN FEELD is an artist, author and the founder of FEELD creative agency– a Paris-based entity producing work that strives to be curious, brave, and honest. They provide artistic direction and manage projects from concept to execution across all mediums, with particular experience in the realms of music, events, branding, publishing, and fine art.
If I don’t write or draw or take a picture or develop some film today, I’m no longer an artist. Even if I do produce something, it’s likely to be deformed, amateurish, and pathetic. I haven’t developed any real technical skills and I’m a dilettante. I’m too mentally ill to lead a decent life. I have no discipline or patience and I’m obsessed with getting validation. I’m a lazy addict and everyone knows it.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT SELF-PITY THAT I ENJOY? WHAT DO I GET FROM IT?
It covers up the sound of my heart pleading for True North.
HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL DISTRACT ME FROM TAKING SMALL HUMAN STEPS IN THE DIRECTION MY HEART DESIRES:
– Arguing with somebody in my head (resentment.)
– Creating a situation (gossiping is a good way to do this + I get a resentment for free! A relationship works too. If I pick somebody anxious they’ll allow me to ride in the sidecar of their paralysis.)
– Analyzing things (for best results, analyzing my own work.)
– Being super busy (you have no idea how much stress I’m under… it’s like a belt around my neck that I hang on my doorknob as I jerk off.)
– Denying myself small things (only buying objects I need, being reasonable, avoiding criticism from other people, not doing anything childish.)
– Making all my pleasures “guilty” so I can enter into a tug-of-war with my “bad” habits.
– Making a plan and sticking to it even when circumstances have changed.
– Picking one thing and thinking of nothing else.
– Believing the world is doing stuff to me, instead of me projecting everything onto the world. (Editor’s note: Remove this one? Sounds too much like Oprah?)
– Making sure I look good all the time. Being RIGHT.
– Not writing down my fears (with a pen. On paper.) This allows them to lurk undefined in the recesses of my mind, puppeteering.
– Reacting with self-hatred when I observe myself doing any of the above.
BUT I CAN’T STOP. IT FEELS SO “GOOD”.
Well… sometimes I stop.
WHAT HELPS ME STOP:
– Meditating (mindfulness is a good thing, lots of good ideas come right before and after sleep, or during meditation. I like a guy called Jack Kornfield, he’s a good source for simple guided meditations if you can handle his nasal voice.)
– Did the “Artist’s Way” by Julia whatever-her-name-is. Didn’t read it. Did it. (Most of it.)
– When I wanted to kill myself, I got properly medicated by a psychiatrist and entered therapy with a gestalt therapist. Not psychoanalysis. Therapy.
– I was an active addict and alcoholic, so I got sober by surrendering and relying on others in support groups. I did all the cheesy shit. It worked. Now I keep doing it.
– Exercise. Sometimes it’s just what I need to clear my head.
ANXIETY AND FEAR HAVE NOT GONE AWAY.
They’re writhing inside me every day. I use their horrible words as building blocks for my novels, draw their ugly cynical faces in my illustrations, and mimic their ruthlessness to create uncompromising photos. I tell myself: “Julian, if you had no fear or anxiety, you’d be missing a whole part of the human experience, sister.”
I used to hate the word confidence. I associated it with cocksure jocks who never seemed to doubt their own cruel actions. But I have a new definition now.
CONFIDENCE: TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE MADE OF THE SAME MATERIALS AS YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST. THERE IS NOBODY TO LOOK UP TO BUT YOURSELF. FEEL THE ENERGY OF THE UNIVERSE FLOWING THROUGH YOUR CHEST AT THIS VERY MOMENT. REMEMBER THAT YOU ROSE FROM THE DIRT AND WILL RETURN THERE, AND THAT EVERY MOMENT IS PRECIOUS AND WORTHLESS.
On a good day, as I walk home listening to “Flow” by Laurie Anderson, I tell myself:
“My pain is a leaf sprouting from its branch and my joy is the insect trampled under hoof. It is as simple as an upturned wrist and as sacred as a spring sneeze. Death is as sweet as life and the ache of love means nothing. Don’t listen to the words but instead look at what cannot be seen and celebrate what you did not accomplish.”
(Then I drink too much coffee and take photos or continue writing my current novel. Or I just hang out with my friends and try to be of service to them. Or I sit on my couch and order pepperoni pizza with extra mozzarella and evaporate into a cloud of farts. I recently painted my nails silver and dyed my hair blonde. I’m pretty sure my friends think I’m in the middle of a manic episode. Maybe I am.)
(We live in the tip of a pyramid built of human suffering: “the global economy”. Try to be grateful and kind.)
GET HELP. BE NICE TO YOURSELF. LET YOUR HEART SCREAM.
(End of TED talk. Julian is run through by an elk and devoured on stage by serpents and horseflies.)
PS: I recently published my first novel. It’s called EVEN THE RED HERON. You can pay what you want for it here: www.eventheredheron.com
Published: May 20th, 2014