Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why I create art

Hmmm, you think that vocalizing the why of creating would be an easy thing for an artist. Ha...ask any artist that has had to create an artist statement just how hard it really is to explain. And not only that, many artists can't even articulate it to themselves! Why is that?

Well, firstly, creating is a compulsion. Your mind is just geared towards wanting to paint, sculpt or craft and so you just do it. At first it's just exploration and then when you're not satisfied with the results it's about learning technique. It's tied in with concept and creativity and maybe you don't even think about it, you just do it. 

When asked to do an artist's statement then, the words just aren't there. You resort to what others have said for your example...sometimes simple, some times just a lot of fancy words but not really what your reason is. You wonder if they even know why they create.

I've come up with a lot of things myself over time..mostly things to do with what I was trying to say with my work. I'm not really sure I even nailed that...if you've got something to say there has to be a reason you think it's important. I never really could nail the reason I painted or sculpt.

And then while sitting outside today admiring how nice the grass looks it came to me; as usual, in a very round about way. You see, when we first got our home I had that pride of ownership that comes with owning your own home (really huge after living such a large part of my life in a tent or wheeled vehicle). I wanted to take care of the place, even stretched our poor budget to keep on a company to continue taking care of fertilizing and weeding. 

Then I watched the yard get worse each year. had to be me! Not enough water, too much water, didn't aerate, allowed the thatch to get too thick...on and on until both the lawn and I were worn out. I finally decided the company I paid had no real idea of what they were talking about. So I decided to take over.

It's been an enlightening experience. At first I was nervous as heck that I'd kill the grass and way too eager to kill anything that wasn't supposed to be there. Then I seeded in new grass in a couple areas...this in the high desert in the summer. First try in the spring fell apart once the heat set in, the second try this fall has gone well. 

Along the way I learned. Formulas don't have to let things tell you what they need and that takes observation. Some things that I didn't think belonged were actually helpful...clover acted as nursery plants, shielding tender shoots from the sun and they feed nitrogen into the ground. And some wonderful wildflowers have crept in here and there and I've let them be. I do hand weed and spot spray for the bad pricker type stuff, and invasive things like wild morning glories (though I've left some spots for even them). I only fertilized in the beginning of the year and made sure the water needs were met. My lawn looks the best it has ever looked...thick, green, lush.

Boots loves to roll on his back in's a daily routine. Yesterday a friend came over and flopped down on the grass to enjoy it. I sit in the shade on the grass with Boots on a hot day and just enjoy its scent and softness. Thinking about this made me realize that I didn't do all this work to have a lawn for bragging rights (although it really does look nice). I did it for the pleasure of the sensation a lawn can bring, to myself and others. 

And boom...the thought flew in my head that that is why I create art (and so funny, because I'd just articulated the fact about liking to bring pleasure to others with my art in a letter to a friend and didn't even get what import it had). It's also funny that creating art and tending a lawn have so many things in common...quite the learning curve. 

In my art I tend towards lighter subject matter...I want to bring a smile of pleasure to someone's face. I also want people to see that there is always a lighter side to be found and to seek it themselves. That is purely why I create art. Simple, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comments, your opinions will help format the content of this site. Comments will be reviewed for content and then posted.