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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Art as Taking a Big Dump on Your Neighbor's Lawn

I was reading the letters to the editor in a local paper, and someone wanted to say some "artists" had gone too far. But he had to lead off with the disclaimer, "Yes, I know art is all about pushing the boundaries."

Well, I suppose if you have the emotional maturity of a twelve-year-old, maybe it is. I tend to think art is "all about" creating works that will inspire a sense of wonder in your audience. But perhaps I'm just a stick-in-the-mud in thinking that sticking a crucifix in a jar of urine does not really compare with the Mona Lisa.

2 comments:

  1. Artists are all a little different, but most have certain general things in common. I personally suck at painting and the like, but I am a multi-instrumentalist who knows quite a few painters, so I can relate.

    The artist is usually not as concerned with the audience as many would think, rather he is concerned with the here and now of how he is feeling while he is creating the art. Essentially, you get into your own little bubble or zone, the outside world kind of disappears and it is just you and the canvas. It's very much the same as when I am playing an instrument, the entire world gets blacked out like it no longer exists and I have this very emotional connection to my instrument, where it seems as if the only thing that exists is me, my instrument, and the feelings expressed through that instrument are immediate and real. It's literally like leaving planet Earth and it is why I absolutely love improvisational music, because that is the only time that this happens (i.e. when I'm improvising). However, I know for a fact that this is the same exact feeling that painters get when they are creating their art, which is also a very improvisational and emotional process. If one can get into this state, the result is always breathtaking. This is even true of players/artists who normally aren't very good. When they get into that zone, that bubble, it is like they are possessed by the art gods or their muse.

    The crappy part is that one doesn't always get into this state of mind when they paint or play an instrument, so they also have to practice a lot to get good at what they do for those times that they can't quite get fully into that zone. Paradoxically, when you do get into the zone, everything that you've learned is generally forgotten, it is almost as if you are no longer using the logical functions of the brain anymore, and are going entirely by feeling and emotion.

    To me it is like the best drug in the world; trust me, I've tried them all.

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  2. Crap, I got so into it that I forgot to express the point. For me, when I look at art, listen to music, watch a film, or whatever, I don't generally care if it is graphic, simple, complex, cerebral, etc. What I am looking for is an emotional response similar to what I explained above, but in the opposite direction. It's kind of like when you are in your car jamming some awesome tune and you all of the sudden are playing airdrums and singing in front of an audience in your mind. Well, you're getting a small taste of what the artist felt when he created his art, only you're experiencing it in the reverse direction. When an artists' work can do that to me, that is when I know that it is good.

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