Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art inside

Given my last post ranting about "temperamental" artists I thought I'd write a little about a book I bought this last weekend. Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles, Ted Orland

I read about it on Susan Hinckley's blog Small Works In Wool. btw, Susan has quite a few good book recommendations in her blog.

It's not a How To book and it's not a workbook/guidance book like
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

It's more about the process of art and the development (or lack thereof) of making art: all art, all fields of art. Chapters include: Fear about yourself, fear about others, the outside world, the conceptual world amongst others.

One of my favorite quotes: ”To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process.” Art and Fear, page 5.

For me, it is the process. Given the number of things I do and the number of things I discard it's ALL the process.

I was in the midst of the book when I had the exchange about "temperamental" artists and when I picked the book up afterwards I had my friend and her view of artists (and I admit her implied "what are artist is not" (the feeling that she considers only getting paid as a mark of an artist) as a factor in what I read and how I disseminated the information.

The chapter: Conceptual Worlds was my favorite of all the chapters. Maybe because of the exchange, maybe because for me that is the part that I struggle with, to give voice a way that is meaningful to me. To allow that to come thru.

"'s apparent all art is autobiographical." page 107

"Making art depends upon noticing things -- things about yourself, you methods, your subject matter. Sooner or later, for instance, every visual artist notices the relationship of the line to the pictures' edge. Before that moment the relationship does not exist; afterwards it's impossible to imagine it not existing. And from that moment on every new line talks back and forth with the picture's edge. People who have not yet made this small leap do not see the same picture as those who have -- in fact, conceptually speaking, they do not even live in the same world." page 109

I can see that autobiographical aspect in my own work, I can see where strict made up rules (in my own mind) restrains me and I see dissatisfaction. I can see where I let loose and I feel satisfaction in the finished piece. I can also see why someone might think an artist is being "temperamental" because what is "right" to the artist because of it's autobiographical nature but is **wrong** to someone who doesn't understand the nature of the piece can be viewed as difficult. (hahaha, editorial comment: It still doesn't make them an temperamental jerk because someone else can't see what is clearly there for the artist). The guy in the previous post can be a jerk because he's just plain rude most of the time, not because of his art.

I highly recommend this book. It's a slim volume but it's packed full of wisdom and realizations on paper.


susan m hinckley said...

So glad you enjoyed the book! Someday I'll write something half that smart. And I'm still laughing about your exchange with your "friend" -- getting paid has less than nothing to do with being an artist. I see so much crap in the world that someone got paid to do, I can hardly believe it. And people who are getting paid to create RARELY get to truly create the things they would like in the way they would like. That is a blanket statement that I will stand by. Almost without exception, you are either executing someone else's concept, or, if you're selling your own work, somewhere in the back of your mind you have to consider "sellability." So I think most of the real art that takes place on this planet never has anything to do with the exchange of money. That's why so many of the great artists only get recognition after they're gone -- because while they're alive, they don't care enough about getting money from anyone to let it impact their art. As soon as you start taking money, you lose a little creative freedom. Period.

VO said...

I did ask her if she thought maybe it was HER treating someone a certain way because she had a bias. She retorted: Absolutely not!

I'm willing to bet the artists might say something different.

And yes, I love the book.