Artist's Statement

When I was nine I had a waking dream that scared me like I'd never been scared before. I dreamed that when we die there is a total extinction of all thought and consciousness. It felt like a truth to me, but was in stark contrast to what I had been taught about an afterlife and how our good deeds would lead us to a positive experience after death. My life since that time has been an attempt to find meaning in a life that could be meaningless. Art has played one part in helping me find answers. 

On one level all of the following statemnets are true. When I paint I feel most alive. When I paint I feel I am being true to myself. When I paint I feel connected to the world, the people and things in the world. When I paint I don't suffer. On a deep level I know all these things to be true. But they are in war with nagging surface doubts and dilemmas. For example, art doesn't end my suffering when I am struggling with the painting process, or when I lose all faith that I can paint at all. Art is often isolating, separating me from people for days at a time while I'm  in my studio alone. Art doesn't provide so called essential services to people in need. It doesn't feed or clothe people or help them to overcome illness. On one hand art feels like a selfish preoccupation, on another it feels like a valuable endeavor. At a loss as to how to bring peace to my inner war, I keep painting because it is what I am most skilled at, and because in my bones I believe what John Keats said, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

© Brooke Schnabel 2012