Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

Some things that have been bugging me lately:

If you're one of the 2.3 regular readers of this blog, you already have read my rant on POV. Some people seemed to think this was a cry for help, or some kind of problem I was having. It wasn't; and it's not. Thank you to my dear friend Judy Shintani for serendipitously reminding me that it's actually my process, and that makes it just fine. I need a POV. I get to decide that for myself. If you don't need a POV, I'm happy for you, yay! But I'm just as happy for me that I understand that I need one and have the sense to keep working toward it. And yes, it's discovery that comes from work. Generally, from a lot of work.

Second thing: I have seen posted on Facebook by a couple of very different friends an absolutely idiotic quote attributed to Andre Gide, "Art is a collaboration between God and the artist and the less the artist does, the better." I almost cannot express how much this pisses me off. Once again, intention, focus, engagement, concept, and conscious choice in artmaking gets dissed in favor of some special magical outside force we're all just channeling. Talent's not real, choices are meaningless; we're just empty vessels. If the work is good, it must be because we didn't have anything to do with it! If it sucks, it's because we participated too much in the creation of our own work.

You can perhaps see, I think, how these two things are related. Each assumes that an engaged intellect is either not necessary or not helpful in making art.

While there is something to the notion of avoiding paralysis by analysis and getting out of your own way, there is NOTHING in the notion that not being conscious and deliberate in your artmaking somehow makes it better. Having no conceptual underpinning (which is really artschool talk for "an idea about what you are doing") doesn't make your work special, it makes it rootless. I can look at my crafty things or the stuff I've done just for myself, and I can see that. I see it in others' work as well. It keeps it from being everything it should be.

And once again, a serendipitous post from Judy ... "Being quiet enough to listen and trusting is the only way into creativity." But she and I agree. We aren't listening for the voice of God or trusting some outside force; we're listening to "our own true voices."

Whew, I feel better. More fun next post and less pondering. I promise.

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