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Art in response

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Is art always creativity responding? Does art need to be created from a point of inspiration? I was thinking about the genius grants and wondering is there really anyway for an artist to create free of life? If the idea is to allow an artist to create free of the burden of paying rent, buying groceries, etc., is that really possible? I remember hearing Frank Lloyd Wright say his biggest regret is that he was allowed to create unchallenged. When an artist has a muse, isn't that creating in response? Can we truly create being totally "set free"? Do we always require some sort of push back?

And if God is an artist what was his inspiration for creating us?

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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Sometimes, when I paint, I am responding to some inspiration. A thought occurs. I start sketches. Do research. And eventually I paint. It's all really quite organized, it was the way I was taught to create.

But then, at other times, other things happen. Whilst on the phone, I would doodle on tiny PostIt notes.Sometimes they'd go on from call to call, for a week sometimes. They'd be interesting. I'd stick them on the studio wall. One day I took one, 2" wide, a totally random thing drawn without thought, with different pens or markers, and I redid it in oil on canvas 8 feet wide. It was great! I ended up doing about 15 such paintings. They came essentially from -- nowhere. What is that? It's not inspiration. It's seems to be just -- instinct. But to me, at least -- and those that bought them -- they worked. They were art.

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Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? What would you paint? You'd have no reference to anything.

Of course, this isn't really possible unless you've lived your life in a white box eating flavorless mashed potatoes handed to you by a robot . . . wait, even that is a point of reference from which to draw. Just not a very humane one.

I'm OK with the grant, just not their title ("Genius"), which I've stated in the forums before.

Edited by Chashab

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Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? What would you paint? You'd have no reference to anything.

Cezanne's father was a lawyer and left him a trust which his sister managed for him so he never had to worry about anything but painting. His painting, trying to realize his vision, was his burden of life. And his work didn't turn out too bad.

Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? I'd be willing to give it a try :>)

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Cezanne's father was a lawyer and left him a trust which his sister managed for him so he never had to worry about anything but painting. His painting, trying to realize his vision, was his burden of life. And his work didn't turn out too bad.

Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? I'd be willing to give it a try :>)

While I have more recently come to appreciate Cezanne's work, it isn't as an artist as much as a technician. This could explain part of that sense.

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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While I have more recently come to appreciate Cezanne's work, it isn't as an artist as much as a technician. This could explain part of that sense.

Joe

Cezanne is one of my favorite if not my favorite artist. His goal was not to just represent nature, to catch her fleeting beauty, his "impression" of nature, as the generation before him had. He was obsessed with painting the "appleness" of an apple and the "mountainess" of a mountain. He was not just looking at the surface but going deep into the nature of things. I think in actuality he was trying to penetrate into the heart of things as created by the Creator and hence visually representing the spiritual connection between the created thing and the mind of God. That is the great satisfaction I get from looking at a Cezanne still life; through a single apple he can get the viewer to sense eternal things.

He never felt like he achieved his goal and when one understands his goal you can understand why. He was trying to represent the mind of God.

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Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? What would you paint? You'd have no reference to anything.

Cezanne's father was a lawyer and left him a trust which his sister managed for him so he never had to worry about anything but painting. His painting, trying to realize his vision, was his burden of life. And his work didn't turn out too bad.

Why would anyone want to paint without the "burdens" of life? I'd be willing to give it a try :>)

My point was more that you can't approach anything without bias. I was trying to respond to what I thought was Joe's broader proposition more than just the idea of not having to worry about paying the bills. I'd be fine with such a grant as well

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It's been said that "inspiration follows perspiration", and I believe wholeheartedly that it's true.

I agree about the need to work hard. Unfortunately much of the beginnings of modern art appeared easy. Take Matisse as an example. Many of his paintings are made up of simple lines and large blocks of unmodulated color. But he painted that same painting many times, often wiping it completely off the canvas and starting over. So what ends up looking simple was the result of much painstaking work as well as many years of experience. It is too easy for a young artist to look at Matisse and think that style of painting is easily reproduced without the years spent drawing and observing and wiping paintings off of canvas and starting over.

The end result is a loss of technical ability and the unwillingness to attempt a style of painting that demands hard work and training. In fact when I was in art school in the seventies many of the professors did not have the ability to teach any kind of technical skills at all. The teachers were all about personal expression!! I always likened it to attempting to write a novel without any ability or knowledge of grammar, spelling or punctuation. The author might think it expressive but the lack of technical ability actually preludes expression. That is not to say that artist with technical ability are always communicative either. All great works of art have the integration of form and content.

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Maybe Joe's emphasis was more the money than I took it to be.

Only in as much as it's presence or absence affects the well that artists draw from (no pun intended, OK, maybe sort of). Kind of along the lines of how sometimes it seems one gets more accomplished when one has less time to accomplish things. I wonder how much being free from the "burdens of life" might actually pull the rug out from under the artistry. I guess it depends on what burdens and what inspires an artist.

But then there were the artists who were driven to use their art to earn money. Van Gogh wanted to and was convinced he could make his money painting portraits. If he wasn't trying to deal with the burdens of life, how might he have turned out different? As talented as Bach was, he was still trying to make a living with his art. Or maybe on the other end there was Rembrandt. Wasn't he fairly well off, but then died a penniless artist?

And sometimes an artist's earlier works look completely different from the work after they have "made it". I can think of a few choreographers like that.

I don't know how or even if one should try to quantify such things. Just fodder for thought, or even just self examination, mostly. Is art always responding to something? I guess it is like the verse, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, or from the life of an artist the artist creates.

I'm still curious what might have inspired God to create.

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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Do we always require some sort of push back?

I'm a little annoyed with myself because I can only vaguely recall that I think this was an important question in my post, but I can't remember what caused me to ask it. I guess it is like when Jesus talks about how easy it is to love those who love you, but to be more like the Father we have to love those who hate us. So, does great art come easy or does it come from struggle or discomfort? Sort of like the quote about kicking darkness until it bleeds daylight. Did the great artists fight their art? Are those the moments we recognize their contributions?

Joe


natureofthebeat.svbtle.com

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