About Contentment and Bill Cunningham NY
These days I feel so pleasantly calm, content and happy.
I asked myself why I am feeling this way…trying to identify the thoughts behind the feelings, so I can call upon them again should the need arise in the future.
So I asked myself what is this state of mind that has caused me to feel so happy…
The answer that came to me, was that somehow, I am no longer bothered by wants, craving or their opposites- by aversions.
Every day, I do what I love, and I do not really care if people will buy my art.
Of course I would be happy if they do, but I do not feel the same strong aching desire to have my art exhibited or collected.
I live in two parts of the world that I adore, and I enjoy the nature and beauty that surround me in both places.
I do not care to improve the bathroom or to renovate the kitchen, I am content with the aesthetics, beauty and functionality of my homes.
I feel infinitely blessed to spend my days in a quiet and peaceful places, where my biggest concerns these days are so small, and mostly revolve around, “Is it going to rain or will the weather stay nice all day long, so I can stain the decks”……
Every morning we choose the activity of the day.
If the weather is lovely, we may go cycling or kayaking, or work in the garden or stain the house or decks.
If the weather is rainy, we may stay indoors, paint in the studio, read or write, cook, sit and talk over tea, clean, or catch up on research on the computer….
If I do want something, I simply get it.
But most of the time, because I feel so content, my mind does not jump around seeking for satisfaction in desiring things.
I spend NO TIME, not even a single moment worrying about the future.
I do not let my mind imagine stressful scenarios, or speculate on possible disasters.
I always knew that this day would come… That instead of fighting “desire” and cravings, they will naturally disappear.
The last craving for me to go, was my strong desire to sell my art.
I did not intend for it to happen, it just happened naturally.
It is very liberating not to obsess about where to show my art, and whether it will sell… Am I working on something that has a commercial appeal to others…. Will people understand and dig what I do…. Etc.
I recently saw a documentary on 90-year-old, famed New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham.
I HIGHLY recommend you see this new documentary, called “Bill Cunningham New York.”
Cunningham has two weekly columns in the ‘Style’ section of the New York Times, titled ‘On the Street’, where he photographs people on the street, and focuses his camera on fashion trends as he spots them emerging on the street.
Bill Cunningham himself rides his bicycle, wearing a blue workman’s vest that he bought in a supermarket.
It is an ugly utilitarian vest, that he wears as he covers some high end fashion shows, but he loves it because it has many pockets to store his film rolls.
He is a humble and kind man, who for most of his life REFUSED to get paid for his work and for his art.
If he got a check, he would tear it up.
He would not cash it, saying that if you do not get paid for your art, nobody OWNS you…
His belief is that the minute a patron pays you for your art, THEY have the control and you are reduced to a worker, working for them… You are no longer an artist… A creator… But are doing artwork to please others…
Of course his ideas have come with a price.
In order to live without getting paid, he needed to live VERY simply.
He lives in a rent controlled studio apartment in which he has lived all his life, sleeping on a cot next to his filling cabinets with all his negatives and slides.
He has no kitchen and the bathroom is down the hall, shared with other tiny apartments.
The contrasts in his life are huge…..
On one hand he flies to Paris for high end fashion shows, but he refuses to eat or to drink at any of the parties or benefits.
He covers fashion in many high society gatherings and charity benefits, but again he never eats the gourmet food nor drinks a single cocktail.
It is a wonderful documentary and I TRULY enjoyed seeing it, and getting a glimpse into the life of this kind hearted man.
My own path was nothing like Bill Cunningham’s life.
I sold almost every one of my paintings, and I have to admit that doing so increased my confidence in my path as an artist.
I did not have a strong core, and having grown up feeling extremely insecure, I needed all the positive reinforcement I could get…
But now I feel differently.
I feel secure in my talent and I am proud of my art.
I feel that I am versatile and that I can explore many subjects via my art.
I feel content and the cravings are miraculously gone….