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"The irony of being an artist is that it is inherently tangoing between narcissism and service"

Ona Tzar

Musician / Visual+ Movement Artist

What do you think of the notion that our internet identity/persona differs from our in-person identity/persona, and potentially creates a false image?

One night I walked through the streets of Berlin in the most seemingly banal of neighborhoods outside of the trendy loop. The streets were barren and non descript. All of a sudden, I turned a corner and stumbled upon a street with a slew of old restaurants and cafes, all aglow with yellow hued lights that glittered on clanking wine glasses and cascaded across the streets. I watched as the elderly wined and dined as the faint sound of jazz music played in the background. Suddenly, I was transported into the late 1920s of Paris. In my mind’s eye, I was strolling down the charming, glistening streets of Paris after having just seen a flapper dancer with Anais Nin at a local rowdy cafe.

In real life, someone might see me, a nondescript woman walking down the streets, and assume I am on my way home after running errands, thinking about nothing in my head. Probably, no one would notice me, save for a few old pervy men, because you can always count on pervy men to be lurking in every crevice- they are the most reliable humans. But, in my own version of reality, a whole rich multitude of universes was colliding within my mind’s eye and heart. One might assume that the exoskeleton- the side shown to the world in that moment- was the ‘truth’, but I think, when you are an artist, day to day reality and how we show up in our daily lives often feels less ‘real’ than what we attempt to externalize from our internal worlds through our creative expression.

Because of how expressive and colourful I am online, most who don’t know me assume I am some hyper confident performer who is an extrovert, and when they meet me they might be surprised to find a highly sensitive, quiet introvert that is, at least initially, the opposite of flamboyant. I would say that the confidence that is displayed online is a mirage, and yet it is also truth, because when I am alone, in my own fantastical world, I am more confident. It is when I have to interact with ‘reality’ and the world, and have to be pulled out of my fantastical bubble, that the rift of self consciousness arises; and sometimes that self consciousness actually creates less truth.

Perhaps for some, the version of human that interacts with the world, sweeps the floor, walks around in sweat pants and so forth, is the ‘real’ person. And in truth, it is, but only a fragment, and same goes true for what is displayed online. I think, when you are an artist, an introvert, a deep thinker especially, you relate more to that internal reality where you are traveling through different stratospheres in your mind and emotive self. Moreover, when you create, and you are so totalized in the moment, there is this sense of purity- this sense of source- that arises in such immense totality. For me, that is by far more authentic than even the most honest of my conversations. As humans we have just as much potential, if not more, to be more inauthentic in reality, than we do on the internet and through our creation. I show insights into my mind , my private life, my emotions, my fantasies, my mind- through my work and through the internet. The raw kind of show and tell. The colourful and fantastical kind of show and tell that usually reflects the richness of my inner world. I show things that might otherwise not necessarily be the time and place to show whilst talking to someone at the cashier line in a grocery store. I have the opportunity to splatter my emotions and visions, uncensored, into whatever music, dance, words or images arise out of me. I have the opportunity to attempt to externalize what is really internalized, and often it is best relayed through sounds, colours, images, fantasies come to life. And for me, that is just as authentic as the person you will meet in person. They are just different sides to the same coin.

Everyone needs a more poetic mirror for their feelings. And this, is where artists come in.

What would you like to see unfold for the world of art and how it interplays with the world at large ?

I think the irony of being an artist is that it is inherently tangoing between narcissism and service, and yet the service aspect has become a bit underappreciated and undervalued, by and large, and sometimes artists themselves forget this aspect, because the game feels like we are having to often fend for ourselves. Especially, in this age where so many artists are more independent and having to self market, it requires a certain weight upon the ‘self’. I’ve struggled and still struggle for many years with this notion of pursuing something that might be self gratuitous, as I inherently have always known I’m here to be of service to spirits larger than myself, and sometimes art feels like this game of having to convince everyone that your ego is valuable. I flicker in moments, wondering if I am really pursuing something that honors spirit, or trying to stroke this human desire to be seen in totality. But when I really steep my toes deeper into this strange martyr/guilt complex that plagues me, I sometimes get glimpses of an alternate truth. This truth is that creation is life. Creation is inherent. We are hardwired to create, and if we don’t have children, that creation has to spread wings elsewhere. Creation is an expression of divinity and source.

No one’s inner child truly ever really dies. That inner child forever needs a fantasy outlet. Everyone needs play. Everyone needs to be taken out of the humdrum of daily life, and cast into another galaxy of infinite potential. Everyone needs a more poetic mirror for their feelings. And this, is where artists come in. They manifest what is internal and beyond and create new portals to dance in. They allow us to open new dimensions and travel to new horizons. *Everyone* needs that medicine.

I think also, you don’t have to love someone’s art, to be inspired by them, if you open your mind and shift your lenses. I am inspired not just by the art itself, but also by those who breathe passion, imagination, commit to their own truths and flavor. I can find inspiration in all if I chose to, so long as the pulse feels genuine. I need artists and visionaries to fan my flames, just as much as others can use my flames to fan theirs, if they open themselves to choose to. We live in an age where we are so wound up in our heads, judging and critiquing others and what they produce, especially with all of us hiding behind screens and comparing ourselves on social media… It’s like an infectious disease, this mind based disassociation. If you can step beyond the mind and open your heart, there is something to gain from whatever someone produces or their energy, and they need your support, just as much as you need theirs. I need someone on the subway to be unapologetically extra in their clothing to light up against the rest of the drab crowd, just as much as they might need my onslaught of ideas, and we’d be better off encouraging and supporting eachother until the top recognizes that they have to do the same. We need to do this together, in collaboration. It’s all a feedback loop.

I am ineffably grateful to the artists out there that carve their own path and speak their fantastical versions of truths against all odds; they have given me wings when life catapulted me into the depths or the chains of daily life felt too cumbersome. And some days I remember that I also have the ability to impart this same gift… But, a gift is not truly a gift until it is given and received.

IG: @ona.tzar


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