Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who Is The Artist?

The artist, or what we call by that name, remains a gamble on the part of nature. It is associated with nervous high tension, with an apparatus of thought and imagination so flexible and mobile that it surprises itself, with a sensitivity to phenomena and interrelationships that pass unnoticed by others, with an instinct for the moment when the exceptional will succeed--a moment to be patiently awaited but not missed--and with an ever-possible and sometimes essential incomprehension of the uncomprehending.

The artist is full of energy--mental energy first of all, but sometimes this is combined with physical, emotional, and sexual energy. Artistry is a vision, often involving the gift of finding patterns where others see nothing but a chance collection of objects. The artist has a memory for essential details. The artist has the transcendent capacity for taking trouble; he has the capacity for brooding over a subject until it reveals its full potentialities, but that again is a form of energy. The artist also has a belief in himself and the importance of his mission, without which the energy is dissipated in hesitations and inner conflicts.

The decision to place the process of creating at the center of one's life, whether as artist, scientist, or religious prophet takes as its premise the idea that whereas the material world is impermanent, transient, and essentially "unreal," the transcendent world of the spirit is the realest reality, the Absolute. Thus, an artist, like a mystic, quite naturally takes up the basic position of a witness, a "second man," an observer, not an "overshadowed" participant. This is essentially the same as the "witnessing" described in Eastern thought as a regular indication of higher or transcendent states of consciousness.

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