Art is a sharing of the soul that is not to be taken lightly. Each creative act has its own risk and reward. And the ratio is never predictable.
So why do we keep at it?
As a lone painter, a dance group, a production company, a species – why do we keep going back to the fire? I don’t think there’s a single answer, one that applies to all those who create. But, based on my own experience, I feel it’s a question worth examining.
Our last post was about science, and how the scientific method itself can be a powerful construct from which to come to a conclusion. It’s effective in its objectivity, and is (usually) not reliant upon public opinion to be considered great or to go down in history.
Art…well art is all about opinion. That immediately puts all artists into a slightly uncomfortable position. Sure, as an audience we can look at a building and be pleased with its symmetry or material; or look at a painting and respond to it’s color and texture. We can hear a piece of music and appreciate the arrangement and execution. But…do we…love it? Or even like it? Let alone tell our friends about it?
Every artist enters into a contract with public opinion when they release their work to the world. Depending on the work, it could be a solo effort or collaborative. I’m not sure that either is easier to bear, with the exception that a collaborative piece comes with a certain amount of support, whatever the reception. However, this contract I speak of is not full of legal clauses and exceptions; it’s quite simple.
The artist creates, presents and then accepts.
Yes. Absolutely nothing can be expected from those that receive the art. It’s a strange concept. We toil to make something that will move us and others, yet cannot have any expectation from others, only ourselves. I suspect we could create and leave it in the studio, on the desk or hard drive, and still be making art. Yet I’m not sure I know a single artist that would be satisfied with that on a regular basis.
So this is where the “Courage to Create” applies. I remember being handed Rollo May’s book of this title many years ago. I didn’t understand then…courage? Creating is just fun! What’s so scary about it? Well, beyond the still lifes and pinch pots of basic art class lies an individual’s path of creation. When we discover what we want to say and choose to say it…well that’s where the courage comes in handy.
The same reason that an artist wouldn’t be satisfied with their work never seeing the light of day is the same reason they tremble when it does: we are sharing ourselves the world. How often do we have a chance to do so? That, I believe, is what brings us back to creating art. Much like love, art allows us to bare all, if we choose. In the least, it allows us to give a part of ourselves away in an effort to create an experience for another person. Maybe we will reach the audience, maybe we will make a connection. Maybe not. Whatever the outcome, like love, art is something I’d never want to live without.