Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Musings on art
Many of us spend countless hours of our lives on art projects. There are many reasons to make art. For some it is about perfecting a craft or technique. Others make art to communicate ideas or feelings. Some are simply makers for whom art is a means for either making new stuff or reinventing old stuff in new ways.
We consume or enjoy art for different reasons. Sometimes a piece simply strikes as a beautiful, unusual, or interesting. But more often than not, we really appreciate art that successfully communicates with us, that reflects us, or that gives us insight into who or what we are.
Think of the song writer whose lyrics seem to describe you exactly, as if the writer understands you personally---completely. Or think of the movie or book that moves you to tears.
This is the most successful art, as it satisfies both the maker and the observer.
Most of the art I make is musical, and though I also enjoy writing and drawing, I think my musical efforts are the most mature. I can tell you that, for me, making art has always just been about play and experimentation. I find satisfaction in being able to imagine sounds or music and turning those ideas into something audible for others to hear.
The artist who says they don't care if anyone else really appreciates or understands their work is probably not being honest with themselves. Art is a conversation between the maker and the audience, and it takes two parties to have a conversation.
Art matters. In it we see human potential. It's so easy to become disgusted with the world, with the selfishness, the greed, the cruelty, the hatred. But art reminds us of our better selves, or at least it has the potential to do so, because in it we see the spark that ignites, the seedling pushing up through the dirt, the breath of air that keeps us alive for another few moments.
We're alive, and yet, we for some reason we are frequently unable to marvel at it. I'm thankful for the artists who spend their hours working to remind us, who serenade and shock us into seeing life for what it is or could be and for who and what we are.