A Brush With Art
Art is often brushed off, with exclamations of: “Art has no meaningful purpose ..” or, “There’s no reason for it ..” which is correct, yet not in the same manner spoken.
When I was a young man about 22 or 23, I determined that my best resources were of a creative nature and they could be traded as I went through life (in face of a groundswell of pessimism), and that I could make art a career, a way of life and a livelihood.
At the time an insight showed me my best work would not emerge until late in life, with the richness of maturity. I was happy to work commercially for years, providing for my family, and as I suspected, a larger view of life eventually altered this perception.
Years later I have found art in every culture and, justified by reason of its sheer and persistent existence, is said to be self inherent, needing no purpose, not requiring reason. More precisely — it could be said to be beyond reason, transcendent.
Set apart from other endeavors, art begun and completed with no specific objective in mind — no set goal, simply begun and finished, is unlike other endeavors, as it is then defined by what it has become.
How this pertains to everyday artfulness, is, as in the creation of art, if we stop goal setting, it seems we can effectively replace our establishment of priorities with a coming to our senses about what appears as material security but is in reality delusion, a fabrication of the imagination. Major religions ascribe to this, why don’t we do it?
As an example: to keep any monarch in power, tribute is collected to support his luxury. No taxes, no monarch. Much the same, the attainment of goals supports our fragile egos, keeping them on their seats of power, but a simple practice of abandoning expectations can bring one to experience an open, deeper and more creative life, by far richer in comparison.
Art then too, has no real reason to exist, nor does it have a reference. No goal. Being groundless, it becomes to our intellect meaningless — yet it has a power of its own that can be measurably impervious to an assault by the intellect, which is, after all, reason — yet, like gold, endures the test of time, never tarnishing. We can say its timelessness is as powerful as the day it is created, even if that is ages ago.
There is a similarity about the role of an artist today, that is of having a mere brush with art, yet for a different reason: The immensity of art’s role in history and culture, as a most reliable storehouse of mankind’s spirituality, utterly humbles one that is barely scratching its surface.
And now, as my brush returns to the paint .. it is likely for no good reason.