This website has been a spectacularly long time coming. I paid the initial deposit to the developer back in November 2016, would you believe. I kept letting other activities, like actually performing, take priority. There was however some psychological reason for the delay. Launching a website is scary. It’s daunting. It says to the world ‘I exist’ and ‘What I do is important.’ Making this statement is still a struggle. Those who know me think of me as an almost brashly confident woman. But those who deeply know me know I have all the same struggles as the rest of the world. Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Why do I deserve to be an artist? Am I an artist at all?
These are questions I will try to explore here through my journal entries. It won’t always be sparkly excitement splashed across the blog pages. I am going to try to be honest, and hope that this can shine a light for other musicians and artists out there thinking and feeling the same way as me. I want to hold up a beacon and say ‘It’s ok, I’m scared too.’
The journey to self-identification as an artist is one I am certainly still taking. Meaning, I have not arrived at an actualised artistic identity. In a way I’ve actually resented this moniker. Sure I sing, I communicate, I emote, I portray characters distinct from my own personality. But to call myself an artist seemed somehow tacky. Perhaps it’s an Aussie upbringing and not wanting to be seen as a tall poppy. In any case, its tough.
What I’m realising, as is the case with most forms of identity, is that the sole factor determining whether or not I am an artist is whether or not I *choose* to be an artist. Post-modern theorists would have us believe that the author is dead, and that art exists only in the eye of the beholder. But identity is something else. Identity is something within oneself. One can express that identity to someone else, and that other person can understand, read, recognise, sympathise with or even empathise with the social markers that provide the parameters for certain identities. But true identity is the way one feels. What are my external social markers? I am Australian. I have the passport to prove it. Internally, do I feel Australian? Yes, I suppose I do. I can’t say that all practices of my fellow antipodeans resonate with me, but for the most part I feel culturally Australian. I am a writer. Externally, I have published poetry, short stories, feature articles and news bulletins. I’ve even been paid for it. I have a degree in journalism. But do I feel like a writer? Not really. I don’t hear ‘writer’ and think, ‘Yes, that’s who I am.’ Firstly I do it far too infrequently to call myself a writer. It’s been years since I’ve published anything and the things I did publish weren’t exactly ground-breaking. So no, I am not a writer. Am I an artist? … … On paper, yes. The income I generate from my singing work is how I pay my bills. It’s my bread and butter. When filling out important forms I list ‘musician’ as my occupation. I’ve sung with several major orchestras and opera companies around the world and have essentially been working full-time since half way through my masters degree. I’m supported by foundations that support artists. I’ve won prizes in competitions for artists. A judge may cast her eyes over my varied documents and proclaim ‘Of course you are an artist, Frau Flood. Why ever would you even ask such a silly question?’ The answer is: because I don’t feel like I have the right to call myself an artist. It seems like a mantel someone else must bestow upon you. Like ‘Dame.’ But if my examples above make any sense, it’s clear that the only definition that matters is the one I give myself. Do I feel like an artist? The answer to that question will hopefully become clear to me as my career progresses, or more accurately, as I progress.
Welcome to the website. Welcome to the inner workings of my mind. Welcome to mayhem.
Oh, and recipes.