Monthly Archives: September 2014
The term “artist” has acquired so much baggage over the centuries. Originally it was just a word like craftsman or architect, but beginning in the Renaissance it began to acquire connotations of genius and something special or unique. Then, with the birth of Modern Art and artists like Andy Warhol, the term artist became synonymous with eccentricity and fringe culture. Calling someone an artist merely meant they were artsy, creative, maybe not so great at things like math or writing, and that they probably had a ‘unique’ fashion sense. While all of these are often true of artists, it is not the eccentricity that is the core role of the artistic identity. Artist is a term that has come to not define a role so much as a character trait, which is putting the emphasis on the wrong aspect of creativity. See my earlier quote from Nicolaides about the artist’s temperament here.
Artists are illuminators. They shine light on reality. They should be teaching people to see the world, to focus their attention on something outside the common cultural radar. The term illuminator gives the artist a purpose rather than describing his personality. I’m not about to start referring to myself as an illuminator and refuse to acknowledge the title artist (mostly because that feels incredibly pretentious), but I think it is time for an adjustment in our thinking and a new mental image to accompany the word artist.
What are your thoughts?
Good art operates on many levels; cerebral, emotional, physical, transcendental, etc. However, I have found that each category of art has a general strength or primary mode of functioning.
1. Music is one of the most emotional art forms. Every chord seems to strum the heart strings and carry the listener along through intangible and undefinable peaks and valleys of emotional experience.
2. Poetry, and by that I mean words used for their own sake as art, is the most cerebral. The language is already known to the reader and they engage with their mind first. Even if their mind takes them almost immediately to a place of emotions and images they are starting with the intellectual structure of words.
3. Visual art is the most immediate art form in the sense that a viewer can take in the gestalt of a piece almost immediately. Even if it takes them hours to notice or discover something their eye can rove the entirety of a picture relatively rapidly. Visual art creates a self contained aesthetic experience that can fully immerse a properly prepared viewer almost at once.
These are certainly generalizations and I have left much unsaid, but what are your thoughts?