"You have no more files, mam." Those were the words that the so called "genius" iterated as I continued to have my meltdown. Mam might as well have been substituted for "crazy woman who cried in the apple store and now I have to deal with."
No files from my hard drive were recovered. That means I have no applications, no documents, no music, and... no art. It truly pains me to say that I have lost my portfolio. There were so many opportunities for me to save the files and be proactive just in the event that this situation would happen. Now, I must live with the fact that a certain part of my artistic record has been eliminated.
As an artist living in this age of computers, many of my fleeting thoughts are momentarily captured and then deleted. This is an unfortunate thing, because some of my best creative ideas or hints of an idea come from doodles on a train ride or chicken scratch at a restaurant, and now this world of spontaneity is dismissed. I create something, and then decide that I don't like it for one reason or another, and then I immediately send it to the "Trash". Because of the categorization system forced upon us within the computer, I am quick to judge my work as "save" worthy or "trash". There is no gray area. No room for experimentation. No time for letting something rest and returning to it later. The immediate nature of the delete button allows me to remove something that at one time was so precious to me. However, now, as I mature as an artist using the computer as my vehicle for expression, I have fallen into a systematic methodology for producing artwork the same way that I produce email. I create, I decide if I like it, I delete it or send it. Obviously a part of me feels that now that I acknowledge this pattern, I need to work against it and I don't know if I can. A computer is a tool. Yes, but it is more than just a tool, it is something that we feel more connected to than a paintbrush or a pen because it not only allows us to create our art, but it permits us to connect to the public and private sphere of consumers. Sometimes that consumer is a family member or friend, and at other times it is a client.
This computer has allowed me to please people. I have created designs for public and private consumption. The one thing that I could have done to care for myself and my work, I did not do. I did not back up any of my files. I feel so helpless and a little lost. I don't know how to explain the connection that I feel with my artwork. My work is like an old friend, and the longer that I look at it, the more I can give to it- to take our friendship to another level. Now, I will not be able to return to those files. Of course, now I will not be able to represent myself by my artwork from the past few years.
If only I had given the care to my digital art that I do to my work on paper, this situation would never had happened. I need to allow myself the freedom to create as purposefully or spontaneously as I do offline. This is difficult to say, because I love the crispness and professional-quality of work that I do digitally, however, in a way it is more important to have those moments of messiness. In these moments, something can change. A mistake can turn into a new idea and that will lead to a new project.
I am hurting. I don't really know what it is that I have lost specifically. This event coincided with the sale of my grandmothers house. Now that she has passed away, I feel this overwhelming sense of loss. Those feelings of a lost friend that I felt when my grandmother died are being rehashed in my mind, similarly to the loss of my art. In my museum, we talk about impermanence a lot. I understand the concept, however, I am not there yet. I am in the stage where I need to appreciate what I had and have lost and feel that pain of knowing that I will never see my art or my grandmother again. Maybe soon I will feel a sense of renewal or freedom from my past, but right now this pain, this is something I need to feel.