Why I make art: (re-blogged on September 12, 2020, from previous April 27, 2010 post)
Why do people create art, view art and buy art ? Because it reminds us who we are and that we are not here for mere existence. The world was created by whomever, with an incredible range of color and variety. This is seen, felt, and re-created by the artist.
Art reminds us of our inner most passions and vulnerabilities. It helps us to remember that in which we have in common with each other, shows us our differences and speaks to us in a language we all understand. For much the same reason we travel, art is sought out; to see differently, to learn from, to experience that which we’d not before experienced, and to inspire. We inspire each other through our art. Man uses words; artists use sight, and reaching beyond, taps into our soul.
An artist takes an emotion, from that creates a picture (first in the head), forms it, works it, re-works into being, until it comes as close as is possible to the vision that was the first inspiration. The artist then risks to put it out to the masses. This is where the artist will get all reactions that humans are capable of feeling; love, anger, awe, spite, jealousy, indifference (perhaps the worst reaction in my opinion), bitterness, speechlessness (sometimes the highest of compliments). Yet hopefully the art will cause people to talk, and if they’ve really felt something from the art, something that moves them, they will talk. Like a bartender to an alcoholic , we as artists listen, and try to learn what it is that they are seeing and feeling from our art. Because what’s funny about art is that we all see and experience it differently.
If you eavesdrop (as I often do) at a gallery or museum show, you hear people discussing what it is that they see in the painting (or sculpture or photo) In Los Angeles, at an exposition of the American painter, Edward Hopper, I listened while two older women engaged in a lively debate of what they were looking at. It was a painting in which was depicted a young woman in her best Sunday dress, on a porch, on a summer’s day. “She’s going to church” one womans says. “No, she’s waiting on her sweetheart”, the other chimes in. And so the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.
Art can be a little of heaven; the most gorgeous sunset, the quietest 2 a.m. snowfall, the eerie fog in the forest, the grand canyon of possibility, the heights of the imagination. Or can be a little of hell; the moment of death or a lover’s bitterness. It’s all captured for that one moment, for you, the viewer.
It’s hard these days, in these times, to hear the single laugh, to see the one flower, or bird or cloud formation or ladybug. There is so much distraction. Yet on this planet, we are absolutely bombarded by color and variety. Not one color, one flower, one fruit, one shape, but hundreds, thousands. This is truly heaven on earth, here, now, this moment.
Slow down. Art makes you slow down. It says wait. Look here. Sit. Relax. Have a coffee. Don’t speak. Take off your headphones. Turn off your phone. Come in here. Where I am. Let me show you where I’ve been. Where I am now. Where I can take you. To another place you’ve never seen. It’s my gift to you. Here, we go together. I take your hand. It will be ok. I promise. Now relax, breathe, and remember how to feel. It’s safe here to feel. No one will see but us. Remember when? When you fell off your bike and screamed? When you lost the match, how defeated you felt? When your first kiss was lousy? When you’re first fuck was great? Or the second? Or the third? When you fell in love? When your child was born? When you first saw the light in your lover’s eyes? And the pain when it ended? Or the hollowness of grief when your mother died? That horrid feeling of emptiness? The sorrow? How you felt? But wait, look here. That’s your fathers laugh you hear. That night you sat round the table laughing till your sides ached. Tears streaming down your face. Remember? Remember turning to your lover and seeing your passion mirrored in her eyes? Reflected in your own? You’re feeling it now, aren’t you? The electricity, the awakening of all your senses at once, the eroticism of the heat of your belly, the sweat on your palms. Your heart loudly beating. Faster now. All of you and all of her, mixed together in limbs and lips and skin. Rising fast, speeding through time, coming, coming.. to…to…
You. You are alone. In front of the painting. All this has happened in your head, with people passing you by. You’ve traveled outside yourself and back into yourself. And here you are. In that moment, at the very least, you’ve traveled somewhere you’ve not been before. At best, you are now awakened, inspired, and reborn. Even if you’ve not been open for it, it may sneak in any how. All that-from a piece of art.