Art is a big word. As someone involved in the unfolding artistic process I do not see myself as an artist per se, but as a catalyst and witness to the process of art. When I first began to intentionally create I was under the spell that all of my ideas were good ideas. Much like the child that drags mommy by the hand to the bathroom to show her the fresh turd I suppose. Nevertheless, I kept going and came to appreciate, even long for the criticism that would open my mind up to that unseen factor. The blind spot. Now, I do my best to throw the ideas that come to me as far away as I can. If they persist, I may proceed. Sometimes, it’s a no-brainer and I’m immediately involved. Those are the best.
There was a three-year spell where I struggled with the fact that I was stuck in a culture box that influences everything I do. You can pretty much at any given point yell out “THOSE AREN’T PILLOWS!” and have people chuckle from the movie reference. God bless you Steve Martin. The problem with our culture box is that it’s made up of glass or a see through plasma and most people don’t know that they are in it. My devastating thought was that it is impossible to create something entirely new because everything is made from and influenced by everything else. The west is, in my opinion devoid of its own culture. It’s kind of a mish-mash of everything else and from that we’re pretty lost. I’m pretty sure this is why people in the west visit India only to return sporting a bindi and greeting the rest of us with namaste. Enlightened to a new way to drink Starbucks I guess.
I feel that when we create art we have two basic parts to our mind; the mind that’s free and the mind that’s bound. Art is the dynamic inter-play between these two minds. Those of us that attempt to create from “outside of reality” end up talking to ourselves about white rabbits and those who create directly from the latest cultural offerings are just mediocre. There needs to be balance. Anyone who is a true artist, I believe, stands on the edge of reality and their work is to expand that edge. You won’t necessarily reach infinity but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You can in fact reach it if you are perfectly still but that’s another post all together. The point is that there is nothing new under the sun. Trigonometry existed seven thousand years ago. We’ve only recently noticed and applied it.
So now I create from what I find inspiration in and use the given tools to facilitate that process. I just don’t take myself so seriously anymore. Your art suffers in direct proportion to you giving a rats ass what anyone thinks about you. So don’t strive for freedom… be free. A major part of that freedom is in accepting what you are bound to.
I was inspired to write this after returning from a walk through the woods where I hung out with a variety of trees and two woodpeckers rhythmically searching for food. Now THAT is art I can get my head around. That’s the culture that I identify with. Remote parts of the world may not have my Starbuck’s but at least I know that there will be trees, land and inspiration to create.