Posted by: syncopated1 | May 11, 2012


Swimmer Self Portrait by Jessica Stammen (borrowed with permission)

I have had many, many conversations about many things in the last year that have been thrilling and wholly engaging. One of these chats was on the topic of art.

My best friend and I were Skyping, as we often do, and he was working on an art piece, in a medium I neither knew by name at the time nor could tell you now. But I did ask him how he goes about doing what, often to me, seems to be random patterns on a surface. We talked at length about the nature of art, his method, other styles of art, etc. Much of our conversation is useful only to me in understanding what my friend does, but one point did stand with clarity amongst the others.

Art should always be deliberate. If it is not, then it is merely doodling. Art needs to be deliberate.

(at this point it is important to note that I am not an artist, nor am I qualified to speak with authority on art or artists, this is merely an opinion.)

The usefulness of artists, I feel, is that they see the world differently than I do. Some wildly different, others only slightly so, but different nonetheless. Artists, regardless of their medium, see something out there, in the ether, that I don’t and perhaps never will without their help. What we see as their artwork is just that: the end result of all the work they have done in finding the most relative metaphor for what they saw. Words can’t describe the gem they found, but their chosen medium can. A lot of us, myself included, lose sight of the fact that artists reach out into places many of us only dream to go and, by choice, carry something back to our shared reality with them.

I do not intend to imply that art should only be realist in nature. The great works of art from Michelangelo to Jackson Pollock clearly demonstrate the deliberateness of themselves by how they resonate so strongly in so many different ways. Those artist found something. And did their best to share it.

Where then lies the usefulness of this understanding? Can’t we all approach our lives like artists? Can we strive for something in the outer reaches of our imagination, of possibility, and wrestle it into a manageable metaphor for others to share? It may take us our entire life to appropriately share this vision, this aesthetic, but wouldn’t artists only produce one piece of work if they hit the nail on the head the first time? Wouldn’t we all?

Live deliberately. Find your vision out there in the ether and live your metaphor. Share yourself with others. I can’t paint worth a damn, I can barely draw a circle. But I do have an idea of what sort of life best suits me individually and integrates smoothly with those around me. Each day I make choices that give me indications (some subtle, some not so much) of whether or not I draw closer to that aesthetic I chase.

To see another friend of mine who very deliberately paints and shares many, many visions with us check this out!


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