I’m entering my 4th week on The Artist’s Way. The introductory essay to this week is called “Recovering a Sense of Integrity”. In order to have self-expression, we must first have a self to express. It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? But even so it might be rather difficult; to find one’s own voice, to listen to it, to take it serious, to see the value of it …
Living in complex social relations might not make it possible to take self-expression for granted after all. What would my parents, my partner or my kids say? My friends? My enemies … A woman in a male culture, a new voice up against the establishment, a middle-aged writer up against the freshness of youth –
All this self-reflection made me suddenly remember this great etching by Ludvig Eikaas.
The print is simply called “Jeg”, which is the Norwegian word for “I”. When first exhibited in 1968 it met a lot of opposition, you know the kind: This isn’t art! It looks cruel! A kid can do better, etc. etc.
Eikaas, who was a great humorist, had this to say: In school I was rather annoyed to learn that I could never start a sentence with the word I. This picture is my revenge. Now, as an adult, I can say I, I can express myself in my own way – as myself.
To me this picture became a good exemplification of Cameron’s lesson in “Recovering a Sense of Integrity”.
We become, says Cameron, original because we become something specific: an origin from which work flows, just like Eikaas exemplifies in his different versions of “Jeg”.