of thoughts in ebb and flow

Posts tagged ‘artist’

Is this art?!

An exchange of comments on my last blog post made me ponder – What is art? Who is an artist? And some parallel streams of thought suddenly connected. Erich Fromm in  The Art of Loving talks about wanting to dissolve separateness as a driving, fundamental need of man.

We live, I sense, in a constant state of tension – between the urge to establish our unique identity, our individuality, our separateness from the multitude of humanity and the equally deep yearning to merge with, be one with, for want of a better word, the `essence’ of life that is in all creation. To connect.

Art, to me, seems to be a beautiful way of marrying these two divergent needs. The artist in choosing his medium, his language, in his creativity expresses his individuality, his uniqueness. In offering the gift of his creation to others he seeks to connect with them, not just superficially, but in a very deep sense. To make a `soul connect’.

Seth Godin in a recent post says, ` Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist” So what IS art?  One way of looking at it is, art is that which goes beyond the minimum, necessary functional requirement of a task. Be it a poem, a painting, the elegant flip of a roomali roti, the perfectly timed six that Sachin hit yesterday or the three lines of code that do what would otherwise have taken twenty lines – they are all art. And each one of these creators is an artist. Driven to take what they do to something beyond the ordinary. And in that final flourish of the brush, that last keystroke the artist feels a deep sense of completion.

The English-born, Canadian painter Arthur Lismer said, “.. an artist is, a child who has never lost the gift of looking at life with curiosity and wonder”

And of that curiosity and wonder is born what we term `art’. Heres to the artist in each one of us – wondering, curious, just waiting to make art!

Art e`sense’

That’s what I like about modern art. It gives both the artist and the consumer a sense of involvement and accomplishment. And you can never be `wrong’. So I can get away with expounding on how the soul of the artist is seeking freedom through the random unfettered brush movement. While the artist goes out to buy  replacement colours for the bottles his five-year old unfetteredly (artistic licence if you will) dropped onto the canvas in a burst of imagined freedom of movement in Dad’s workspace!

“What’s the trip?” I say to the Monet’s and Manet’s of the world, these artists who labour to re-create and contain nature in their puny canvas. Why choose God (or the electron-neutron-boson- whatever colliding machine for the atheists out there) as your competitor? Give me a treat for more than just the eye. If your medium constrains you from involving all my senses at least involve my mind!

My professor from back in college was a genuine artist. After a particularly long, completely meaningless burst of CP (class participation) from a student he would pause for a decent interval, seem deeply appreciative and say `OK. Therefore what you are saying is….’ and proceed to say all those points that he deemed necessary for the progress of the case to the next level of analysis. That’s what I call sheer artistry. Professor happily moves on. Student CP artist nods sagely and sits back pleased that he has made such an intelligent contribution and that he can close his CP account for the rest of the semester. The rest of the class continues their mental excursions without being stressed.  Perfect example of win-win if I ever saw one!

What’s the connect? Where is this post going you say? Well. Nowhere. It is like modern art. It will be what you make of it. Come, come. Surely you have a responsiblity towards making sense of what you read?!!!

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