The Great Unknown / by Cory Basil

paris, france 2013

Currently I am sitting in my studio on the first day of a brand new year. Just like all of the ones before people are publicly prophesying how they will better themselves from this day forward: less fat, less cigs, less booze, less angst, less hate, more productivity, more love, more light, more peace. Three weeks in and all will be as it was; save the few who learn the true art of discipline and slip through the noise and into a better more fulfilling life. I too have my list of goals for the year -- goals for a better me. I stare deep into the art hanging on the walls in this shoebox downtown where I create: finished art, unfinished art, crumby sketches of almost lost ideas, ever lost ideas bouncing like ghosts off of the cardboard herein. The only thoughts I seem to be able to conjure at the moment are, " That one could be better ... and that one ... that line could be tighter ... and that one looser ... " -- and so on. Frustration drives an artist, it's nothing new. It's not even worth speaking of -- it comes with the territory.

No self-help book, diet book, accountability, inspirational jesus touch, or other etherial or extra-terrestrial interaction will save me from myself. I am a weathered man who in the last seven years has truly come to know himself inside and out. So much so that I'm exhausted with knowing what slows me down and the hinderance of not being able to change overnight. I've bought the religion, purchased the plans and experimented with much in my young life. Yet, as I continue to climb further into the great unknown there is only one thing that has worked for me. Discipline. The self kind. No drill-sergeant, boss, or managerial type shouting at me every morning. Just the vocal screaming match in my head when I awake every day. The one that I have trained to win says the following, "If you don't create something good today you don't deserve to be here." This may sound harsh, but it rings true for me. So many lives are cut short before reaching their full potential, so much beauty stolen from the earth far too soon. I've been witness to more of this than I'd ever thought I would, and it leaves a sting. I feel the weight and the responsibility to pick up the slack. I'm the lucky one. I'm still here. I've escaped death more than once. I must create a trail of light in my wake. How will I ever do this if not for discipline.

Two small sentences have formed and remained in my head this past week -- they are as follows: I want to be honorable. I want to be a better artist.

There is no one that can make these two things happen other than myself. Both absurd challenges when considering where I am at today, but I am driven. Mad, even. On the road towards these things I will crumple up and toss aside countless amounts of sketchbook pages. I will swear at humans driving ten miles under the speed limit in front of me. I will abandon things I should have held onto and I will hold onto things I should have abandoned. All in the name of tightening the reigns on my discipline. I don't want to be perfect. I enjoy an errant stain on a canvas, an accidental line across an otherwise perfectly painted face. Bad press, flaws and shortcomings never did anything but test the character of a decent human being. I only want to be better. Be self-disciplined. xo cB