Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where does art come from? and other stupid questions

You want to know where art comes from? You want to know how artists get inspiration? I really don't know either, but i will give you my experiences and opinions so you can stop asking stupid questions and statements like: Where do you get your inspiration from? So, you are an artist? And especially, Would you do a picture of me? Oh, and the one I hate the most "Well, I can only draw stick figures and not very well"

Okay the second to last last one doesn't really relate but seriously, if I wanted to do a picture of you, I would have asked. And you don't really expect us to say yes, but you put us in the difficult position of saying no politely, when really we just think you are ignorant and annoying for asking us in the first place.

Where do you get you inspiration from? Living. Inspiration comes from putting two or more disparate thoughts together into a cohesive idea. Usually it is things I have been thinking about for a long time, things I like or have just learned about. These come from living my life. I cannot pick a specific date where I thought "I'm gonna do a piece about this." It just evolves out of my subconscious into my conscious and onto the paper and just grows from there.
Better questions to ask are: So what have you been interested in lately? What books are you reading? Who are you taking classes from? What other artists do you like? These are much more meaningful and would illuminate much more to your understanding than the initial question. As a plus, the artist will think you are intelligent and awesome.

So, you are an artist? [always followed by, What is it like?] I hate this one and, other similar ones. I think all professions hate those, cause they love their jobs and think they are important, so how can you sum up what you do so it will be interesting and express why you love it; even though the person that asked really doesn't care what you say.

"What is being an artist like?"
"well, I wake up at 6 pm, kill some kittens, eat them and then from 8pm-4am use their blood to make paintings."
"That is cool." . . . you did not listen to what i just said, did you?

I don't kill kittens by the way. I like kittens. But this kind of not paying attention thing happens a lot.
Being an artist is like being anything else. You get an idea, think and plan it out and then execute it. Only artists use cool things like paint, foam, clay, wood and pretty much anything and everything else. The planning takes about 10-30% of the time and making the art takes 100% of the time. Okay, the actual drawing/painting/whatever is the rest.
But do not think that these are consecutive, sometimes you get an idea and you don't know what to do with it, so you start drawing it and the idea evolves, so you draw some more, and it becomes more complicated, you run into problems, you draw some more and it may or may not get resolved and you may or may not get something visually worthwhile. Then you get another idea and you work on something else.
Being an artist involves a lot of thinking in addition to drawing or whatever.

Which brings me to the most hated question/statement of all: "I can only draw stick figures." Seriously, the next person that says that is going to get this rant, I don't care if it is my own mother or sister-whoever says that after hearing that I am an artist has it coming. You are warned.
Art is not about drawing-it is what we do, certainly-but it is not what art is about.
Art is thinking and executing. It is about teaching, learning, experiencing, showing others what we what them to see and experience for themselves. It is not about the medium; it is not about telling everyone that we are cooler than you cause we know how to do things you do not. You know things that we do not and we do not hold that against you.
I became an artist because I wanted to learn-(You are like- well, you could do anything and learn. sush, i'm not done)-I wanted to learn about people, about nature, about the world and society and technology and language and history and myself and you. I want to know it all; to understand and become one with the world i live in and teach others what I have learned so they can become one with me. This is in the metaphysical sense: me=sum of my experiences you+my experiences=you+me=>something greater. Technically, this is all communication, not just art, but artists are the only ones that I have seen who think about this daily and work towards it. Artists are modern-day philosophers. "There are many teachers of philosophy but few philosophers [because all the philosophers have moved to being artists]." Thoreau.

So when you equate art with drawing well-it is insulting. (also when someone comes over and sees me working and says: Aren't you an artist. yes, yes, I am. duh. go away so i can make my art.) Art is the combination of ideas and craftsmanship. You do not get art at all if you say it is just craftsmanship. Anyone can learn to draw but few use their skills for the greater good.
Also, that statement has the assumption that I was born with a paintbrush and pencil in my hands, scribbling masterpieces into the walls of my childhood home. While it would be kind of cool to own up to, it is completely false. I worked and am still working very very hard to draw and paint and use all other media well. These are skills that you have to learn. You could draw well too if you cared enough to work hard for years to learn how to do it. I certainly did, and I am doing and living every every day fulfilling my dreams. So do not insult me by saying that i do not work for what i believe in.

So stop saying stupid things when i say that I am an artist. Really, stop.

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