Saturday, January 02, 2010

Inroads to my Self, courtesy of art (and vice-versa)

As a new year and decade begins, I can’t help but take this abstract transition as an opportunity to commit to making some tangible changes in my life. I won’t label these commitments as resolutions because, though tangible, they are very open-ended: not the kind of things that I can tick off my list on December 31st.

Having faith to release the power of the Self
So I was thinking about letting artistic work speak for itself and having faith that it can alone speak volumes. I had a thought about how it seems that the most powerful art (and by “powerful” I mean that which resonates most strongly with the soul; that which is received like an old friend, as if it is instantly familiar and belongs; as if it is obvious and simple truth), is a reflection of the bare soul, the essence, of the artist. It is an amplication of their Self.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that process is so important in artistic production – that it is the artist’s education on their Self.

My reality
Desiring to spend more time this new year working on artistic works, I question why, although this desire has been one of the few constants in all my years, since I can remember, my attempts to fulfill it are never quite whole-hearted. Conclusion? The ultimate challenge has been this: I have not been open to, honest with, and actually gotten to know my Self enough to be able to amplify what is there in any meaningful and sustainable way! I believe that by committing to spend some time educating myself about my Self, by using the act of creating to journey from question to understanding, that artistic voice within me will be unleashed. And that the most appropriate mediums of expression will naturally emerge.

It all seems so obvious and indeed, writing has always been my most effective problem-solving tool. Having just read Marianne Hieb’s Inner Journeying through Art-Journaling: Learning to see and record your life as a work of art, I see again what I suspect, that the problem-solving toolbox can be expanded to include all forms of art.

The art of reality, revisited
Is amplifying one’s reality or the substance of one’s Self akin to reflecting that reality? Reading earlier musings about art as a conduit to reality, I find myself disagreeing slightly with the quote below:

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
— Bertolt Brecht

Art is a subjective interpretation; one’s perspective of reality. In the process, while recognizing, acknowledging, analyzing and understanding this reality, new shades of it emerge. These new shades exist as a palette that you can pick and choose from to create different narratives. And in this way I agree with Brecht that art can shape reality. Reality inspiring new realities. Amplification.

Art as both an insight into the reality which we can resonate with or at least recognize and a vision of how we might reshape this reality (for better or for worse, for one or for all!).