I asked Barbara, a.k.a. Egghead to write raw because her work compelled me to know more about her. Her journey as an artist is uncovered in this piece, as the path she took to find herself is unveiled.
Who am I? My name is Barbara, a.k.a ‘Egghead’. I am an artist. I’ve been an artist my whole life, though not always so sure of it, and not always an ‘Egghead’. You see, I’ve struggled; struggled to find a voice, some sense of purpose about the whole matter of art-making… struggled to matter. Impressionable at best (purely weak-willed and sorely void of identity at worst), I’ve wondered with ambitious aimlessness, heavily influenced by everything in sight and nothing at all. That is, until a bout of depression brought me closer to an ambiguous form resembling identity.
‘Anatomy of an Egghead’
About two years ago, leafing through a number of self-help books, looking for answers, something to relate to… I found and read ‘The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity’ by Julia Cameron. I began the practice of writing ‘morning pages’ (a self-revealing, purging ritual of stream-of-consciousness journaling) at a drab and confusing time during which I sought any sort of relief from the artist’s (and life’s) block I was experiencing. I took my assigned task very seriously and wrote with enthusiasm for several weeks. I eagerly sought self-discovery. For several more weeks, I continued to take my task seriously, though less enthusiastically. More weeks of journaling, and soon I grew less serious and more frustrated. Sure, I was purging but after a while, much of what I wrote was repetitive, most of it negative and every last bit of it BORING! I lost my capacity to concentrate. I’d wonder off and back onto the page; a 30 minute task extended to an hour, often more. I doodled on the margin of my pages. I stalled.
‘Origin of an Egghead’
THEN, it happened: a promised revelation. After months of ‘purging’ onto sheets of paper the seemingly mindless, worthless, absolute garbage I’d been writing: a doodle. Simple, unassuming, and truer to me in expressing my reality than anything I’d ever consciously attempted to create before, he seemed as confused and screwed up as I felt. He seemed to me my Self, and somehow every Self; universal in his expression, in his capacity to convey emotion so simply and so truthfully: a skeletal stick-figure frame – ambiguous, asexual – and an egg-shaped head; that’s it. That’s all. I cracked his skull (it seemed right). I named him ‘Egghead’. I named my Self.
And he became a symbol of my Self: a symbol of frailty and the vulnerability I’d felt for so long and had been incapable of expressing in any real way. His cracked head and feeble body; broken, vulnerable… he represents a truth about me; about anyone: at one time or another, we can all crack. And we do crack! We crack to let steam out, just as we crack and must crack, open, expand, to let life in…
‘Egg VS Ego’
We crack in anger and in joy…
‘Seedling of Hope’
We crack in hatred and in love; crack every time we share of ourselves or allow bits of others into us. We crack in despair and we crack in daring to hope…