“I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that anyone who can feel those vibrations is inspired.”
~ Richard Wagner ~
What Wagner speaks of is by no means an isolated experience but is a shared experience of the true artist. There is a link between true creativity and spirituality. With spirituality being on the wane in today’s society is it any wonder why there is such a strong resurgence in technique and the science of art ? There also is a direct link between the lack of a belief in the “intangible” in our world and the promotion and celebration of the “science of art”.
I have mentioned on many occasions in my writing that I am a firm believer in balance and common sense where art is concerned. Although I see the necessity to understand the science behind what we do as artists, I firmly believe that we also have to leave room for the “intangible” in our work. This ability to “connect” through art is the true skill of being an artist. Like with any other spiritual practices there are people who just go through the motions, those who are only “creative” on weekends and those for whom art becomes a way of life. There can be differences in the “practices” but the goal to connect to something “greater” remains one of the core objectives of every true artist.
Art is a result oriented practice with the “product” being the remnant of the journey that the artist has taken. One tell tale sign of a truly connected artist is what he or she has left behind for us to gaze upon, listen to or read. The greater the artists connection to the intangible more often the resulting work moves us as observers. We may feel a variety of emotions when looking upon a successful work. We may even hate the work in question. Works that make us feel nothing are the result of a “nothingness”. Works that have us admiring only technique instead of something greater than us fall within the parameters of art about nothing.
Artists are often asked about their inspiration in creating their work of art. Some will have a very clear idea about what their work is about and where it comes from. Others may have a harder time putting their thoughts and feeling into either the written or spoken words. I find that the later is more often true with those coming into contact with the “intangible” in the onset of their creative activities. Sometimes these wonderful artists will say that they don’t remember doing the work or even how it came about. Yet it was created by them. This once again is evidence that there is something greater at work and that the artist has connected to what Wagner calls “the universal current”. Does every artist desire to connect with the universal current. The simple answer is no. Art is created for a myriad of purposes. At the top of the list is art created solely for financial gain. There is commercial art, decorative art and hobby art. All art is valid and should be respected. No art form is higher than another nor is one style or technique greater than another. Art is what it is: one persons expression with purpose. I also fully understand the subjective nature of the act of creation. People either accept the results or they don’t. The judgement of my own creative output as an artist is no different than that of any other artist. There will be people who like it and there will be people who hate it. I do not seek approval for what I do. I just do it.
I do not have all the answers nor do I wish to pretend to. All I have to base my opinions upon are my own personal experiences in art. I have to accept other artists opinions and points of view because it reflects their own journeys in art. I am excited to see so many people turning to the arts as seekers. It need not be professional or some form of spiritual quest. The potential of changing ones life in a significant way becomes all the more possible with even the smallest of contact with the act of creation through art.