Thursday, July 17, 2008

I figured it would make a good post...

Ok, so this was sparked by my apparent need to ramble about this topic given the length of my comment on Lisa's blog. Ahem.

For those who haven't been there yet, you should read her post about poetry. And then come back and read mine.

I have issues. I'm picky. I'm opinionated. I am not comfortable with the general populace's idea of "creativity" nor am I comfortable with my own.

I have an excessive amount of sarcasm and cynicism coupled with a ridiculously loud inner child.

I hate people who claim to be "artists" and then make junk. I repeat: I'm opinionated. I'm not defining junk by your level of skill. Technique does not alone make one an artist. I know some really technically sound people who make junk art.

I'm also not talking about that wishy washy bullshit that the people I can't stand call "meaning". Art either reaches people or it doesn't. Images, words, all those things have a way to impact people. Technique is one of them, granted but I will argue until I die that even the crudest, most simplistic technique can have just as much impact on someone as anything done by the great artists of our time and before.

I have a friend who is an amazing photographer. This person has done some really great stuff. Problem is, this same person gets "talky" when they get going about their art. They are really intelligent and they are really good at talking about their the point that they take any of the spirit the work possessed and kill it with a barage of nonsense and "art speak". It's sad. What's even sadder is that other people lap it up like it was milk dribbled from a golden breast. A lot of head nodding, mm-hmming and all that other stuff. Makes me wonder what they're really thinking.

Maybe I sound jealous. Or self-conscious. I might be. Probably. But what point does it go from being a thoughtful explanation about what you were really thinking or feeling or wanting to express to filling the space to distract from the fact that maybe the piece just didn't manage to say what you thought it would so you feel like you have to say it yourself?

If anyone else managed to follow that overly complicated thought pattern, please, let me know. We'll have coffee.

I think the problem I have with most artists or poets or with myself is that crossing of the line from sincerity to bullshit. I hate it when people glamorize anything to the point that it just becomes another trinket to throw on the meaningless propaganda pile.

Poetry can be amazing. It can also suck. A lot. The same is true for art in general.

My greatest fear as a person who happens to accidentally be creative from time to time..I don't want to be one of those "fake artists" who end up doing all the talking for their work when it should be doing the talking for themselves. I think there's a level of spiritual comfort, trust, love, etc. that has to happen before the art we create can start talking for itself. I know that a lot of the time all the talking the artist does is a way to get there...I respect that. Just don't insult my intelligence or my ability to detect bullshit.

There are people out there who criticize abstract artists and classicists alike. I'm not talking about a specific genre here really...anything can be intellectualized to death.

I think it boils down to intention. Whether that's a known intention or not, if a person is capable of sitting down and capturing whatever it is they're doing with a pure enough intention, a sort of "art for art's sake" (blanking on the terminology for that thinking) but without all the hype, then the art will do what it's supposed to do. Communicate. Which, in my opinion, is a natural and completely unavoidable by-product of creating. Sorry to all you people out there who really wish you could make art about "not saying anything at all" That's actually saying something. I'm looking at it, I'm a conscious (most times...depends on how much free wine you've offered at your opening) viewer thinking about what I'm looking at and that, to me, is the basis for communication. Whether it goes any further than that, is irrelevant.

I've been guilty of being a over talky artist. I've "given" worth and merit to a piece that sucked and was laying quiet as a dead church mouse on the canvas because I was too afraid to admit that what I'd made was, well, a good effort and a valiant try and all those self-affirming things, but that really it just didn't work. My heart wasn't in it, my intention was to get attention instead of just make what I was feeling, something went wrong.

It's ok. It happens. I am blessed and honored to know some truly creative and artistic people. What I find interesting is that most of them, when asked about what they do or why or how, can give the basic answers but that's it. Their work really does speak for itself. It's an amazing thing.

Tim has a quote in his resource for writers that I'm going to (hopefully somewhat accurately) quote here: "Don't let the writing get in the way of the storytelling. It's just the method you're choosing to use to convey your story." I feel the same way about art.

Don't let your (insert media here) get in the way of what you're actually doing. It's just the method. Not the thing itself.

Arthur Dove has one of my favorite quotes "We cannot truly express the light in nature because we have not the sun. We can only express the light we have in ourselves."


Ok. That's over with. Please, disagree with me. :D


Lisa said...

Actually, I agree with you. I think that painters and writers who NEED to continually talk about and explain their work are inherently insecure and their work probably is lacking.

I think that both art and literary critics completely over-intellectualize whatever they're reviewing and inject all kinds of intent that the artist/writer probably was oblivious to.

Now, whether or not a person "claims" artist or poet or writer for themselves -- I don't really care either way, although how a person describes herself really is pretty telling. Do they think too highly of what they're doing? Not enough?

Even after making a living at painting for over 20 years, Scott still refers to himself as a painter (as opposed to an artist).

Great thoughts and actually, I followed your line of thinking perfectly.

Steve Malley said...

I think I get you. It *is* hard to articulate, but one does meet an awful lot of full-of-shit artists-who-aren't-artists in creative circles.

In fact, I think you just gave me a blog post. Thanks.

Riss said...

Lisa-I actually agree with you as well, the way a person describes or doesn't describe themselves is huge. I joke around a lot but really, in the end, the ideas we suggest to others about ourselves are some of the most important things we can some ways it's ok to consider what and how someone else will think/receive us.

Steve-I'm sneaking over to go see what I sparked or what you decided to blog about. Chicken and egg theory I suppose. :D

Anonymous said...

Boy oh Boy,

That was a great post. If this is the sort of stuff you write... you'll find me lurking araound your blog.

I tend to agree with you about the minor artists such as myself. Historically, many great artists, poets, writers, also happened to be braggarts.
Not all, some did do a lot of talking about themselves. Just that their talent and abilities and talking, all of it was backed by a body of work, no one could argue with. For example Da Vinci.
The problem is with those, who feel insecure about their ability. Thus they talk about nothing and with nothing.

Riss said...

Mr. Reality, welcome to my blog. (c: Glad to have you around. I'll try and keep things going. I seem to have plenty of free time when I'm doing that thing called not sleeping (c: