May 23, 2011

Are We Artists Or Not?

If you think you may be a writer, an illustrator, a photographer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a song writer, or a dancer, a film maker, a novelist, a poet, a dreamer, a baker, whatever, know a few things. Your art will fail you. The words will not come. The images will not appear. The lens will not capture a perfect reality. The story will not form. The movement will falter. The notes will not pluck. The cake will collapse.

If you are told do what you desire, take heed. It is not so much that your creativity will save you but you need to save your creativity. To make something beautiful is arduous work.

I speak from the position of someone who loves words. Have words failed me? Yes. Of course. I am not talking about the failure of words to convey meaning. I am talking about the failure of words to create meaning. To create beauty. Sense. Well thought out ideas.

Do we create art because we are compelled to do so?

Or do we create art out of tedium or boredom?

I never felt fit to call myself a writer until I was well past adolescence. I am not sure why.

At fifteen writing a poem, for example, I think I did not want words to fail. So I wrote in order to protect myself from that reality. I say words fail because like daubs of paint, movements in air, notes on a scale -- all these things -- are built upon a certain disappointment.

We talk about the true artist. But what does that mean? The authentic artist?

The fact is there are no true artists. Authenticity does not ground the artist's drive to create. To create is first born out of boredom, or shall I put it this way: a certain dissatisfaction with the world. So in order to restore some kind of hope in the world we create art to convince ourselves to continue on in the world.

Those of us who are artists are artists even in our most inauthentic moments. If we are to strive for authenticity then we have already put ourselves in the position of an ethic. The only ethical position for the artist is perseverance even in times of excessive inauthenticity.

Have we come to judge art the way we judge people?

When I say I am an artist what I mean to say is that I seek something in life that is not life but resembles life.

Take this episode I write at this moment on Stones. I do not write it as a symbol of my inner authenticity. Nor do I write it so I can ascend to some higher plane. I write as a way to counter my alien-ness to the world.

Art teachers in High School told us that we create in order to express ourselves. What they meant is that art is an expression of an interior spiritual disposition. This mentality is bankrupt.

We create ex nihilo. Out of nothing. Nothing more / nothing less.

How do you think of yourself as an artist? Tell all, s'il vous plait.

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