Hello listener, my names is Marley Butler I am an artist raised by Wolverhampton, nurtured by Derby, and I currently reside in Birmingham England. Music is my predominant form of expression, if we were to use the analogy of a tree, it’s the trunk, and everything else I do are the braches, twigs and leaves of that tree. Alongside this I am also the Creative Co-ordinator of Naplew Productions, which again is The foundation, the soil, the roots and space to plant and nurture other artistic trees, mine and those of other artist. As you may tell from that rather convoluted introduction, I do like an analogy as you might tell as we go forward. I hope you have a cup of tea, iv got mine. This will last about a quarter of your cup. Here I will talk about my relationship with sharing creations.
I see each piece of art that I make, whether it be music, writing, filmmaking etc as just very small parts of one big story. Different periods of time form creative pockets, thus creating chapters for one big book. In essence this book is a fiction, no matter how autobiographical bits may seem. To the person viewing it can only be a fiction, due to interpretation and them seeing it through their own lens. The book will only end when I die. Sometimes I think that the perfect purest book would be if nobody was to hear or a see a single creation of mine until I died. In this context I think of the term inclusion as the inclusion of an audience when you complete chapters. In simpler terms, sharing your work publicly, before death.
I started creating music as a teenager, at this time it was purely a therapeutic tool that was working in real time with particular acute childhood traumas. Their was no audience and this did not enter my mind in the slightest. Eventually I would share bits and pieces of things with people very close to me. For example, a girlfriend I had at the time, she would say nice things and make me think about sharing work with people other than her. This made me make a Myspace account with my music, but I kept deleting it as it made me feel quite uncomfortable. Sharing the outcomes of therapy seemed like the oddest thing possible to me then.
This happened again a few years later when I made an album called opposites that I shared with a handful of friends and my girlfriend at that time. Myspace had been and gone and we were in the Facebook and YouTube generation. I YouTubed how to fold card in to cd cases and gave my album to those friends. A defining moment, or a moment of transition in my perspective came when I heard feedback from one of those friend. She was using the same language to me about my music that I used in my head when I thought about the music of other artists that had touched my emotionally, and helped me through tough times and helped heal scars.
I began to ruminate on the notion of, what if my musical heroes that helped me in my journey thought how I thought and never shared their work with an audience? I would never hear it, and where would I be if I never heard it? My girlfriend pushed me to send the album to a label which I did and they released it. That was the start of me being far more comfortable with me sharing work, sharing chapters of creations from that big book. Plus over the years the relationship to creation changed from when I first started. It remains a therapeutic tool but not in the way it was when I was a child. It can be, and is at times, but not one hundred percent as it was back then as my life is very different.
An audience sees fictions, but when you are at the level of myself people do find it hard to separate your art from yourself. If you share a music video of you crying, people see you, the human, their friend, crying, not an artist trying to represent an idea. There are so many reasons you would just want to create in isolation, in a vacuum, and yes whilst you are in the process it needs to be in this sort of vacuum, the decisions really get made in retrospect when you decide to put something out and to share. Then it looses something. As all artists know, when you share something it ceases to be your own. But why would you even want to hold on to it if its is all about the process anyway, why would you care? I don’t have the answer.
My artistic life has therefore become about that tension between sharing and wanting to left alone. To be inclusive of my work or to shut people out. Moving away from solipsism to the worlds words, tortures and soft blankets of nails. These are my thoughts today, who knows what they will be next year. That is the beauty. Art carries me and leads me to freedom. I wont know the answers until the last page is written and the book is closed.
24th November 2016