“Do not taint art with pride lest you reduce it to a science.”
I’ll probably piss some people off with this statement! But I’m an artist, so guess which fence I’m siding on? Yes, it’s a slogan I live by everyday. I came up with it after years and years of creating artwork. Be it music, poetry, photography, web & graphic design, or even cooking, I realized there is absolutely nothing to be proud of. Yep, instead they’re all there to simply humble me out. Everytime I create something new, say, a nice photograph or a song, it is like air passing through my lungs. And everytime I breathe, everytime I inhale and exhale, I feel I’ve been blessed all over again. Like I’ve been given another chance. An undeserved chance.
So, how could art be reduced to a science, you say? Actually, a more interesting question is… How could science be viewed as a reduction? Well, to begin with, I’m not trying to discredit it by any means. Coming from a limited point of view, I see that science is great, but only in this lifetime. It cannot continue on beyond that, I don’t think. But the thing is, science lives in the prison of curiosity. It thrives on hypotheses. Sure, it can enhance our short pathetic life on earth. But no more.
Not that art prevails in that department, on the other hand. In fact, it is the underdog. It does less. But what’s more important is that, at least, it expresses vulnerability. It’s an abstraction that is, in fact, more human in essence than anything else in this world. Art will give no answer. It will solve no dilemma. It has no political opinion. Like the ol’ Pinball Wizard, it is indeed deaf, dumb and blind. What it does though, and does very well, is cultivate emotions. Yes, them darn little things that pop our egotistical lids everytime! It admits its shortcomings. It is honest in both its simplicity and complexity yet appears transparent and stunningly beautiful to its beholder and to those fortunate enough to relate to it. Art is not to be thought through, but absorbed. You can sip wine and bust your brain trying to get that hint of chicory to dance on your tongue like everyone says it does, or you can simply smile and enjoy the buzz! Art is the magic formula that defies logic. One plus one equals two. Okay, but why not three? Yeah, sure, why not? Three it is then.
Try that with science.
I remember playing bass at a gig once. And since I’m primarily an electric guitar player, I’m used to playing with a pick. And so I played bass with a pick. I liked the sound of it and felt it suited the music well. You wouldn’t believe the rant I got the following day. “Good playing… but true bass players play with their fingers.” True bass players? Purists, they’re called. They tick me off! Get a grip, I thought! Nothing is pure. You know… it’s not rocket science, it is music! Okay, fine! It’s ONLY music! But if I want to pluck a bass string with a broomstick, I should! Why not? After all, in my world, at least, art is the master and science is the slave. And me? Well, I’m the heir to the throne! Ha! Funny, but true. But there, my friend, lies the awesome power of vulnerability! In this sometimes lonely kingdom, there are no stiff rules to follow. No restrictions. No Joneses to keep up with. Just you and your imperfect decisions dancing every so happily. Just you and your sole responsibilities. You and your futile conscience. You and your gut instincts. Yeah, that’s right. Just you and your dreaded art! Brave art, I’ll say.
Anyhow, sorry for letting my egotistical lid get popped there for a minute. Now, where was I?
Oh yeah… tainting art with pride. As I was saying, vulnerability is a powerful, boundless force, and art must possess it. Or, like I said, it just becomes a science. But once you become proud of your art, as well as your other abilities, or your services and products, their value is greatly reduced. When you’re able to touch other people’s lives in one way or another, the safest scenario is to not be aware of it. But since you and I know that’s wishful thinking, it would serve us well to simply be sobered by the fact that we’re blessed with a gift and that we don’t deserve it. Everyday, I struggle to always keep with me this truth… that I just work here, and that I’m only trying to do my job. Anything else is beyond me, and none of my business, really. I wake up in the morning and do my work all day. With science as my instrument and art, my song, I do what I could as I express myself in the best possible light, and then accept that I can ony go so far as to accomplish anything in a given time. That makes for an honest and productive day, I believe. And then I sit back and relax. Or something like that.
So yeah, what I said! There’s a lot more I want to expound on though… understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go and all that good human stuff. I did take on gratitude a little bit on my last post. It’s all art. Brave art. However, I’m getting hungry now. Perhaps, it’s time to plate my dinner.
Hey, my best deeds are but filthy rags anyway, right? I love that though. It’s humbling. But it’s life. True life. And art just makes it all the more worthwhile. Which reminds me… I got one more quick thought for ya…
“Do not over explain art lest you’re reduced to being a cynic.”
And the dinner bell rings…