Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is Art?


     So with the loss of so many icons and inspirations lately while the rest of us continue slogging along trying to make art in the midst of whatever else we do, (it can seem just a bit overwhelming at times, can't it?), I found myself asking recently, what IS Art anyway?  I had to slow down from the doctor, teacher, student, family member, business owner trying to write a book production line for a bit, close my eyes, and get quiet enough to even ask the question.

     Luckily, I am not the first person to have wondered. It turns out, when one goes looking, that just about everyone has something to say on the subject. I felt buoyed by some of what I found. Here are some of my favorites, from various sources including -- 27 Responses to the Question, "What is Art?" Mental Floss 6/27/2014, the ever brilliant Maria Popover on her equally fascinating site, Brain Pickings and 37 Books Every Creative Person Should be Reading from Buzz Feed.

                                          Jane Castellon     January 26, 2016
     "All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography." --Frederico Fellini

     "I'm a worker, and I do everything with the same conviction, whether I'm taking photographs or performing or painting or writing. I'm the same person." --Patti Smith

     "Art is a revolt, a protest against extinction." --Andre Malraux

     "Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God, it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy, it is not the expression of man's emotions by external signs, it is not the production of pleasing objects, and above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and humanity."
And, "To evoke in oneself a feeling one has experienced, and...then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling--this is the activity of art." 
--Leo Tolstoy  (What is Art - 1890)

     "The craftsmen knows what he wants to make before he makes it...the making of a work of a strange and risky business in which the maker never knows quite what he is making until he makes it."  R.G. Collingwood (The Principles of Art - 1938)

     "At the center of everything we call 'the arts' and children call 'play' is something which seems somehow alive." --Lynda Bang (What it Is)

"Life is short, art is long." --Seneca's rendering of Hippocrates Aphorisms

Or, as William Carlos Williams put it,

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there."

Carry On, Great Ones....

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Matters

"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." --Goethe