“… I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion.” – Vincent van Gogh
In this issue we celebrate the unsung heroes, the creative works of people who were never recognised in their lifetime and the next generation that has yet to find their audience. We explore the rediscovered negatives of photographer Vivian Maier and meet Karen Marks – whose mesmerising brand of 80s new wave has amassed a cult fan base almost 40 years later – along with the new guard of artists at Sydney’s National Art School. We question the weight of success and validation, and how these two things shape creative output.
In my almost nine years at RUSSH it has been a primary focus to seek out new voices, to champion their creative work in the pages of this magazine. Perhaps what is interesting to note: it’s their personal work that inspires me most – what they produce with no brief, agenda or commission. What would you create if it was only for your eyes, if only for the joy of getting something out that shouldn’t stay inside you?
How does the need for validation seep into the mind and affect the brushstrokes on the canvas or the words on the page? How do we achieve a healthy balance ensuring that our fears never get the better of us? As Anna Harrison writes in Behind Closed Doors, recognition, whether in this life or not, takes second place to the human need of sharing our gifts with the world. We hope this issue inspires you to look at your art before your outcome, and face the fear that what you create won’t fit within today’s definition of success.
If we are to learn anything from Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka and Vincent van Gogh, it is to look beyond the notion of what makes an artist relevant and redefine failure. By simply creating we are succeeding.
Don’t wait. Take the leap and let others receive the gifts you have to offer.