Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art and Passion

It's so easy for a man who is creating an illustration of his perfect woman to feel passionate about his subject matter. But as time has passed I've noticed that others only seem to truly appreciate my work when I have honestly got emotionally involved with the process of creating it.

This has nothing to do with the subject matter it seems. I could be bonking out a TV story board for yet another soap powder, but if have long enough to immerse myself in the process of drawing the situation, the boxes of product and the people in the story, something magical happens. The passion and love I am feeling for what I am creating somehow seeps through and others seem to intuitively enjoy what I have done more. Perhaps the love for what I do makes the lines stronger, assertive and more accurate. The image is refined by my desire to make it the best that I can, and my clients see that result even if they might not understand why today I have 'just got that dull boring bar of soap so perfectly right'.

The same could be said for fine art. Consider a bright red slash across a huge white canvas. Could someone create something so energetic, vibrant, visceral and arterial in a fit of absence of mind? I don't believe so.
I think it requires emotional involvement to execute the movement that ejaculates the red paint from tin to canvas.
The artist declares it art, and at their cue the critics will swoon around the piece in fits of intellectual ardor. I would once have said they were just playing complimentary roles in a complex high society farce, but I have begun to realize that because the artist so intensely loved the slash as he created it, the beautiful intent was somehow left behind in the medium. People who have trained themselves to identify and appreciate such passion (not art) sense and adore the line because of what they see in the making of the bright red slash. Add to that what the slash may say to each of us individually about our lives and we have something more than just a slop of paint.
It can transcend culture and convey meaning to anyone.
One can cite those who excrete paint onto canvas in expressions of fecal utterance. I think that a mockery of beauty and if anyone were to buy that crap they have what they deserve.

All I know is that when I am not fully emotionally present as I work, the results are almost always arbitrary. It's hard to do that all the time (especially when I am on the third or fourth round of author's corrections) but I do understand now why all artists can feel such personal rejection when people don't appreciate their work. Even commercial artists love what they do, it's an extension of their soul and to have it rejected can be painful. I think the real challenge is to always remain positive and passionate in the face of misunderstanding. Everybody might not love what you have done the way you do, but inevitably someone will feel your heart and for a brief moment in time will understand you. Isn't that what we ultimately seek?

"Of all lies, art is the least untrue." (G Flaubert)

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