i have blogged before about art and how much i identify with artists and the way they see the world. i like to think i am one even though it's not my life's work. when i read books on art i always find myself playing with the the way pioneers interact with the world and switching the word artist for pioneer. i think it's probably because pioneering is a gift of sight and imagination. which is true of art. in both cases they also go on to make or translate into something tangible out of that gift of sight. it's also perhaps because that seeing has to suspend what is 'normal' to see and imagine differently and is a form of truth speaking and acting. it can't sell itself, it has to embody gift.
a book i read a year ago was art objects by jeanette winterson. it is a collection of essays on art written in 1996 that i absolutely loved. she says about it:
I wanted to communicate the passionate excitement I have for art of all kinds. I really believe in the redemptive, persuasive, healing power of art. We all need it.
she is a wonderful writer. her sentences are so beautifully crafted. i have heard he speak twice and loved what she had to say. she is someone who thinks and lives deeply. as is my (probably bad) habit i underlined various sections of the book and particularly loved an essay called 'imagination and reality' in which she says that the currency of art is the currency of imagination and that the original role of the artist is as a visionary. artists see beyond the view from the window, beyond the mundane and interestingly she says that is why art fares better alongside religion than capitalism or communism. here are a few quotes i liked...
Art’s true effort is to open us to dimensions of the spirit and of the self that normally lie smothered under the weight of living
In a money culture, art by its nature objects. It fields its own realities, lives by its own currency, aloof to riches and want. Art is dangerous
The artist is a translator; one who has learned how to pass into her own language the language gathered from stones, from birds, from dreams, from the body, from the material world, from the invisible world, from sex, from death, from love.
The charge laid on artists is to bring back visions
The rebellion of art is a daily rebellion against the state of living death routinely called real life.
Art is pushing at the boundaries we thought were fixed. the convenient lies fall; the only boundaries are the boundaries of our imagination.
Art is pushing at the boundaries we thought were fixed. the convenient lies fall; the only boundaries are the boundaries of our imagination. How much can we imagine? The artist is an imaginer. The artist imagines the forbidden because to her it is not forbidden. If she is freer than other people it is the freedom of her single allegiance to her work. Most of us have divided loyalties, most of us have sold ourselves. The artist is not divided and she is not for sale.
the book is totally brilliant for inspiring about art so let it do that work for your heart and soul. but if your brain works like mine and you are a pioneer, you might also try and switch the word art for pioneering or artist for pioneer and see how that resonates...