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A Glimpse Inside the Creative Mind

June 29, 2018

Jim Carrey #portrait #art #jimcarrey #abeliyart Artem Beliy | My inside Jim Carrey Paintings

I’ve always thought Jim Carrey a wholly original artist. His comedy – even when I don’t quite like it – rarely takes a safe avenue that ensures him a laugh. Damon Wayans, who along with his brother wrote, performed and starred in their early 1990s comedy show, In Living Color, (in which Carrey got his first big break) has said that Jim Carrey, above all other comedians with whom he’s worked, takes the greatest chances. His jokes, while often utterly brilliant, are just as likely to be cringingly bad, not only falling flat, but sucking him and the audience into a black hole. That’s how, Wayans said, he knew Carrey had a chance to hit the big time. His range, his fearlessness, his drive to create, is relentless. And when one of his jokes comes together, it’s like a mega-millions lottery win – confetti flying, horns blaring, tears rolling down flushed cheeks.

Carrey’s jokes have always worked on several different  levels. That’s what makes him a true master. The same schtick can be simultaneously juvenile, low-brow, weird, slapstick, and intellectual, all without showing its seams. I remember watching one of his Ace Ventura movies years ago – gape-mouthed as Ventura, Carrey’s character, pushed, clawed and squiggled naked out of the back-end of a rhinoceros costume. He was at a safari park of some sort that he’d snuck into dressed as this exotic beast. That alone was funny enough, but all of this occurred while a young boy watched this spectacle, horror-struck, convinced he was witnessing a rhinoceros giving birth to a fully grown human male. And we saw this both from Ventura’s (Carrey’s) and the young boy’s perspective, adding yet another layer. It was an insane, grotesque, embarrassing and absolutely hilarious bit. In the end, Carrey’s character did indeed grease out of the rhino like an infant does out of his mother. Plopping in a fetal position onto the ground, Carrey’s Ventura guiltily scrabbled away, while the boy tried in vain to get his parents attention, and tell them of the freakish miracle he’d just seen with his own two eyes.

So, I wasn’t surprised when a friend sent me a vimeo about Carrey and his other passion – painting and sculpting. I admit, I did at first wonder if this wasn’t a trailer from a movie Carrey might be starring in. One where he was merely playing a fine artist. Ultimately, though, after a few seconds of watching, I knew this could only be the real Jim Carrey.

jim-carrey blue skull

In it, he speaks with tremendous heart, authority, and vulnerability about what it feels like to be an artist. Someone who uses expression of imagination as his modus operandi. It is the way he interacts with the world – whether it be to make a living, to communicate or negotiate, to love, to mend, to heal. He talks of how his bedroom was a Land of Oz to him when he was young. Getting ordered to “go to his room,” was heaven for Carrey, where a thick jungle of wonders was awaiting him, and fed his soul better than any game of Red Rover waged by his neighborhood buddies.

Carrey goes on to describe being an artist as a calling, and I think he’s right.  In my own life, it’s a voice that has been living in my head for as long as I can remember, whispering to me even when I was perfectly happy doing other things. More profitable things,  perhaps, more stable things, possibly. A voice I’ve heard only artists, priests and warriors name. “I found I could do nothing else,” we all seem to say. I understand Carrey’s compulsion to make his ideas come to life. How he could quite suddenly go from expressing himself through comedy, to painting, say, a multi-hued, partially abstract head of Christ. How he could see comedy and painting, if not as the same, then on the same continuum.


And in much the way Carrey described, my mind has been my sanctuary all my life. A place where I was never bored, where no one could hurt me – unless I wanted them to, where my disappointments could turn into triumphs and my triumphs into adventures. Dangerous. Mysterious. Terrifying. Beautiful.

It is a most two-faced gift.

What Carrey doesn’t say outright, but I will, is how isolating an artist’s life can be. When creativity becomes the lens through which a person views and interacts with the world, that person is put at odds with the world. No easy part of a group or tribe, more often watching an experience as much as living it. Questioning, wondering. A mile deep, an inch wide. Blissfully, gloriously, painfully alone.

And loving it with a passion most people only reserve for their children.


From → love

  1. And to echo your closing sentiment, Victoria, parenting is a calling, too — you either hear it or you don’t. Great post.

  2. Yes, Sean – I agree. And thank you!

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