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Josh Hurst

Are there absolutes in art?

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Much to the dismay of the no-talent wannabes, many absolutes exist in art.  Color, balance, perspective, visual unity, proportion...  And once these fundamentals are mastered, an artist can then go about exploring the limits of the rules.  All too frequently, students attempt to mask their lack of skill with creativity, but they're not fooling anyone who has an understanding, and all too frequently those who lack understanding will tell us that it's all subjective. 

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I often tell my students--sometimes with a conspiratorial wink and a grimace--that the dark, dirty truth about writing is this: if it works, it works. If you can get away with it, then go for it--the only absolute truth in writing. I maintain that the same is true of art.

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At least for fiction, I considered two points about stories borrowed from Laurence Perrine:

- What for you is the purpose of the work, and did it fulfill its purpose?

- Is the purpose relevant?

 

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