I like hands a lot. I’ll look at your hands first if I can sneakily manage it (after your eyes, which is easier, though of course one mustn’t stare, and eyes are always gorgeous, so it’s difficult). Such clever things, hands; cooking and washing and cleaning and loving and drawing and writing and stroking and feeding. The connection between hands and brains is the thing, though, isn’t it. It’s all a miracle, if you ask me.
People who use hands for a living: physiotherapists (and, boy, have I been on the receiving end of some painful physio recently, so I certainly know about that)…
…and in fact, me. I enjoy the fact that making art is all about a manual skill. I like that my hands are strong. And I enjoy the fact that the art I make is so ‘me’. Marked all over with the indelible, individual expressiveness of my own fingerprint. I must be the luckiest person on earth to be able to do this.
And I do believe that. It’s not easy, though. Don’t let anyone ever have you believe that a creative life is all rainbows and fairy dust. The awkward (but necessary) grinding of the creative brain’s gears is often painful - annoying, frustrating, limiting, curseworthy. The trick is sometimes to just kick at it - bash it - whack it with a hammer - until the grinding stops and the machine is productive once more.
Some people would say turn it off, reboot. Rest. And yes, there’s a time and place for that. I use that trick too, because, of course: cake. But the rage at the edges - the rage against the machine in fact - is oftentimes what makes me into a better artist, or a more direct, expressive writer.
Which is, after all, all I ever want.