Dust of the soul

Posted: June 7, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

A viewer looks at the finished product of art and judges it for its artistic and aesthetic value. An artist does the same. However for him, it is also a means of self-expression in which the very process of creation is source of satisfaction and fulfillment; sometimes with total disregard of viewers’ appreciation.

In the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

In this modern digital world, the effort of get noticed has become tough with ultimate success in art being measured on the basis of ‘likes’ on social media or the number of  exhibitions. In this continuous effort to keep afloat, the sheer joy and satisfaction of creation may be lost. In so doing, knowingly or unknowingly, we forfeit the greatest rewards that art has to offer.

Art is not a business entrepreneurship. Here the ultimate success may not measureable in visible, material forms. Here the most rewarding part (if so pursued) is the process, not the product. To apply the mercantile laws to art and trying to make the process of production more efficient, productive or any other business like goal indeed makes being an artist just another job.

The worst part of this attitude is the mutual competition to be on the top with an aim to capture a narrow art market. Somewhere along the line the sheer joy of creative process is irreversibly lost. Art instead of being a source of enjoyment becomes another burden to carry.

Why would anyone commit such a senseless act?

  1. Carolyn Fahm says:

    The age of social media works best if the participants are all convinced that their lives and their doings are in some way praiseworthy. This applies to shared art as well as general life activities. This can be a positive thing in a world where criticism can be overwhelming. I do enjoy being a part of a mutually supportive community. The danger, as you so aptly point out, is becoming addicted to praise so that it becomes the object for which art is created. Making a living solely from one’s art is another matter. At some point in our ancient past an artisan class was developed whose goal was to produce beautiful things either for a select group, such as royalty, or for public display. We see this in ancient cultures in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and other places, spreading world wide over time. Today, however, fewer people are involved in producing things and more have the leisure and resources to produce art, especially photographic art. This is a new phenomenon, and I wonder how it will turn out, given the ability to share it almost instantly via social media platforms. Changing times, changes mores!

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