I am am I
ALICE BRACE is a polyartist from London. She came to Paris in 2012, eschewing university for the experimental tertiary education offered by the French capital. Since her arrival in France, Alice has had over ten jobs, lived in four apartments, and starred in five plays. She can generally be found mooching around the canal.
I am young. Sure, I’m twenty. I don’t see why everyone is so hung up on that, though. When I am 24, maybe I’ll be more interesting as a person and not just a number. Something I gotta grow out of – this damn youth!
But I must talk about creativity. What is it like to be at “this early end of the creative process”? I didn’t realise it was a process. You go from one end to another? I didn’t know that. I thought it was more visceral, like a kind of bubble, filtering the world through that oily, rainbow bubble colour. “The colour of the inside of a bubble.” Who said that? I’ll ask George. I feel like this time, this decade, is essential to my development if I am going to continue pursuing creativity, the creative life, and avoid anything too serious, anything which can be done with a frown, or in a suit. Naah. Not unless it’s a private function, a party, a premiere. There seem to be a lot of exceptions, but I get what I mean.
The fact of the matter is that I am privileged enough to achieve anything I want to, but that does not make me exceptional. When you look at the basic facts I’m pretty much in the same situation as a whole percentage of Western creatives of my own age who are struggling to support themselves whilst taking life’s opportunities as they come: music, theatre, art, writing, sex. I’m no different and I understand and accept that if I do not try, I will not achieve.
Life can be incredibly frustrating. No matter what I strive for, there always seems to be someone I think is better than me: whether it’s at creating great works of art or simply finding a hairstyle that suits. But even though short-back-and-sides doesn’t suit everyone, it can be hard to remember that when you’re alternating between staring at yourself in the mirror and scrolling through image after image of people who’ve done it better than you on the Internet. But I reckon it’s easy enough to turn what would otherwise be jealousy for all those high-achievers into admiration; something to look up and forward to.
I’m excited. I’m full of life! I am empowered and driven by everyone I know who can speak of their life in decades. In huge chunks of time a decade is half of my life. But in ten years it will only be a third, and then a quarter, and so on. Time is subjective. And that excites me.
I am an artist. Am I an artist? I love art. I am creative. I love creating things. Actually, I love writing about things which other people have created – I like being a peripheral figure to others’ projects. Why is that though? Am I afraid of failure if I try something on my own? Do I lack the imagination to create my own work? Am I really that selfless that all I want is to do for other people and nothing for myself?
It is difficult at times to stay focused on evolving any one particular aspect of my interests when I feel overwhelmed with inspiration, because I want to paint, to write, to dance! But during the course of my life I have met multitudes of people who have assured me, not through words but example, that time and age are completely separate matters, and not to panic about how much I do, and when I do it by. There are people twice and half my age whose creativity is flourishing; there is no universal growth-spurt during which everyone finds their own voice and seizes their independence.
I am more than happy to continue explore art as much as possible. My aspirations, abstract though they appear to me now, have no time limit, no expiration date to speak of. And whilst I am actively doing and being, I am also trying to take the same advice I have given countless times: to study and experiment for no reason other than the pleasure of expanding my own archives of knowledge and experience. I say “yes” to new opportunities and speak honestly because of a firm belief that life is better enjoyed openly. There are few things in life that are worth doing reluctantly.
I am an artist? Possibly. I don’t know yet.
Published: September 23rd, 2014