This is a beautiful article…
a good read.
"When I was an art student, a professor told me, “If you are thinking about where a painting is going to hang in a gallery and what others will say and think of it before you have put the first brush to the canvas, you are missing the point entirely.”
Unfortunately, I think many young artists believe an artwork’s final destination is part of its reason to exist, and that is intertwined with the motivation to create the work. The pollution of “creation with intent to succeed” has never been more apparent than it is in the pop music of our time. Mainstream radio acts more as a pyramid scheme than an outlet for melodies and stories. A song is written. It is uncomplicated, shallow and flashy with spicy rhythm, tons of fun sounds and a simple melody that’s easy to repeat. It’s ear candy.
A long list of people will invest in the song, feeling sure it will be playing on many stations many times, then advertisers and FaithTV and movie folk pitch in, and soon you have a dollar-generating product trickling down and feeding these investors. The pyramid is in operation, and nothing much is really good about it, except maybe some memorable drives with the song repeating over and over, and finally you kind of admit the song is not all that bad because you associate it with this special moment you had.
In the end, it is still as far from art as you can go, and no one is better for it.
In all types of art there is a choice. Create what you feel because you believe in it, or create what you think will be “successful.” The difference between the two is this: with the latter, that which will be “successful” can only “succeed” for a temporary moment with you and your physical state. But that which is created in sincerity, that which reveals part of your soul without control and plan, will outlive all of us and be generated between men for years to come. Though the work may not succeed in number of viewers, it still bears a life.
This being said, just because you feel something, it doesn’t mean you will, without a doubt, go out and make a masterpiece. But you won’t produce a masterpiece without that truth. This truth is a precious thing, a heart, a nucleus, a child that must be protected from the many distractions and trials that attempt to affect it.
I often can’t put a finger on what drives me to create. What force drags me to the studio at 6 a.m.? What pulls me out of bed in the middle of the night to jot down a story idea or melody? I have always had something to say or show. Most of it, if not all of it, has been only my flawed attempts to represent truth. But it’s been a story that has unfolded over the course of my life. I just follow it, as it keeps me busy and well-worked.
Those who are proud of what they create, and who help others through it, should count themselves lucky, for this is the seed that grows the vine that traces the path that takes each of us on a spiritual journey with no end or resting place, a journey that can only be guided by the faith and can only lead to the flood of light at the final interruption of our life’s journey Our hands and minds, legs and mouths, eyes and ears, arms and feet were all made with purpose, and though you may never find that exact purpose, it is your obligation to yourself and God to search for it, and to search endlessly for a perfection that, though you will never achieve it, you must seek. This is faith. This is spirituality.
So with art and spirituality, I see parallels. Both are misread, both are distorted, both are exploited, both are misunderstood and misused. As I struggle to find my place in art and in spirituality, I am beginning to believe both are destroyed—not by the lack of understanding that seems to swarm around them, not by the non-churchgoer or the folk artist making unsaleable, offensive work with horrific scenes and poor composition, but destroyed by the millions of people who claim or subtly believe they are right and others are wrong, by the sale of an unfinished Renoir for $13 million because a piece has prestige but not quality or truth.
What I’m trying to say is that neither art nor spirituality is ever “figured out,” and they exist as a journey through each of our lives in different ways and in different degrees. You can’t know the answer. You can only have faith and try.
A creator of art can never stop developing and changing, nor can a spiritual man. In one of my grandfather’s sermons, he compared faith to a ship’s rudder being too tight or too loose, saying we must flex and adapt through life.
Art is an extension of spirituality, an expression of this journey through life that dips and climbs and challenges us all. Our faith carries us to the studio to do our work and our faith keeps us searching for perfection.
A life only exists in the moment of now. It has no need to exist in the past, which is over, or the future, which does not exist. Your life is like a lump of clay. It can remain that way through luxury and idleness. Or it can be shaped through goodness and change, until you arrive at the masterpiece that is your life.”
(And I’m sorry for all the excessive Avett posting, but Scott Avett wrote this. I was intrigued so much by his words. They’re beautiful.)
1 note, October 5, 2012