Saturday, February 7, 2009
Thoughts on Content
I have been an artist all my life and have like every other artist made many works that I wish I never made. This is because in my early years I was unskilled, unclear about direction and meaning and without experience in life itself. Youth is filled with energy, passion and devoid of life lessons, Expression often lacks meaning and a clear vision. At the time I believed that the sheer volume of work would eventually define the value and justify it's existence.
But now that I have lived long, and in retrospect see that there have been many works that have made others pale, I am glad for all those smaller ideas that lead nowhere and produced nothing. Without them I would not have the clarity of vision I do today. Age is wisdom only if one pays attention. Energy levels change with each year that passes, and I think of what time I have remaining. What do I want to create in the limited number of paintings I have left in my life? I think about subjects of importance in my life and seek to express those topics in a way that encapsulates the depth and breath of my skill. I look to painting or sculpting or digitally manipulating images by orchestrating symphonic compositions instead of some small pop single. I believe these are the works that will define me as an artist. If I am to have any impact in the arts there must be works that create a focal point of idea, design, concept and execution. Works that bring 40 years of creative process together into a summery of self.
This is not to say that simply living long will justify this outcome, rather living long will provide the time for dedicated study, practice of excellence in skill and constantly expanding the envelope of ones experience. Taking chances, walking on new paths and seeing new places. One must develop tolerance of other ideas, test theories and be open to evolve and change your mind. To seek spiritual awareness, push physical limitations, and intellectual concepts. I believe it is the goal of art to teach us how to live in this world. Great art inspires us in spirit, makes us think of ways we can do better, and charges us with energy to do so.
It is the shape of content (Ben Shaun) that delivers meaning to a visual image.