Saturday, August 29, 2015

MUST MAKE ART

After reading yet another article proclaiming that an artist “must make art” (You’re only a writer if you “must” write.) I can't help wondering if this is true. Wouldn’t it rather be non-artists who have to go out and earn a living doing something they hate who must do what they do? 

There are two facets to this idea: obligation and inspiration. But what is the schedule for creating? Must you make art every day, once a week, bi-annually?

The inspirational aspect would be that we have to do it because the urge to write/paint, dance/compose etc. is so strong that a real artist can't resist it. This is a very seductive but unrealistic idea. Inspiration doesn't happen every day and just because you don’t write every day doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. The same goes for painters, dancers, sculptors and musicians. As a matter of fact some people think it’s a bad idea to try to write every day, to schedule creativity. Read Lev Raphael's thoughts on the subject.

Artists don’t create all the time. We don’t do it every day. We do it when we feel like it. If we want to make something good, even great, we wait until the idea is fully cooked before we execute it. Creating every day because we've been told to leads to half-baked, mediocre art. Even commercial art that has to adhere to a deadline takes thought and thought takes time. Usually longer than a day. To make good art we must fritter and procrastinate for a while as we think. Very little good art is ever created spontaneously without considerable thought. ("Must fritter" would be a better idea.)

Like Picasso’s lengthy pondering on how to render a three-dimensional effect in a two-dimensional painting which lead to his creating Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (above) which eventually evolved into cubism.
 
“I’m an artist, I must make art” is a grand statement that was probably made in a passionate moment and it may make some people feel important but mostly it creates pressure, making us feel like frauds deficient in passion or talent if we’re not driven to make art every day. Feeling obligated isn’t conducive to producing good art. It's a wise artist who waits until they're ready rather than rushing into art unprepared.

When inspiration does strike however, it’s a different matter. Artists can withdraw into a zone of creativity for days or weeks, even longer. We don’t want to talk or think of anything but the creation. It’s like falling in love. Like Pygmalion and Galatea. Nothing else exists. That’s when we “must” and do create.

But it’s temporary. Thanks goodness, or we’d all be dead from too much passion and there’d be no more art at all. 

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                                             ART, WRITING, CREATING, PASSION