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Life Changes: Befriend or Beware the Void?
By now, most of us have heard of Outsider artists—artists who create works without any formal art instruction or ties to museums or galleries. Recently we discovered Jerry Gretzinger, who maybe an Outsider, but who can articulate his vision so that anybody can see—feel—the importance of his work. In his Vimeo clip, Jerry describes the map he has been making in his basement since childhood, a map of an imaginary world filled with cities, farms, roads, woodlands, and just about every feature the regular word possesses.
True, not everybody can spend their days working on painting, and if we did, we might create something whose progress is not solely dependent on the shuffle of a deck of cards. Still, there's so much to be inspired by Jerry's dedication (note: the map now has 2,000 panels) and ideas. What struck us most, however, was the void, the mysterious white splotch that threatens to block out his map.
"There is one defense against the creep of void," Jerry says. "There is a...wall, and part of it has been built around...the biggest city on the map." This is complicated. If we think of the void as a threat to the world of Jerry imagination, something that will wipe his map out, then drawing a big stone wall may be an excellent idea in order to protect his creation and his creativity. But what if the void is something else? Inside the white void, Jerry also says, "is a bud of gray...it's a whole new world for me." So perhaps by building a wall, he's limiting his own progress, by denying the end of his old map and the start of a new one.
Our takeaway: We all have a void of some kind or another—a problem, a fear, a worst-case scenario, something that seems to threaten what we've spent so long creating. Maybe the first step to being less afraid of it is understanding that, in certain cases, destruction may be just want we need to move on.
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