Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Big Three

If I were a real techie I might be able to tell you why it was such a pain in the butt to post all those plate images. Maybe it's that I'm a Mac user? It was a little problematic at times and it took a while. However I did multi-task and in the mean time I'm well on my way with Pete's second sock and I've made another tarte tatin.

I've got my front door wide open to let the sun in and the ladybugs out. The phoebes started yelling the day before yesterday and today I can hear frogs down at the pond. Fay's snoring. She was out quite a bit in her wheelchair today since enough snow has melted for her to be able to go places. I have to admit that it's pleasant to be warm enough for a change. Pete's working with a band this weekend and at the moment they're taking a break and enjoying the weather on his studio's back deck. Thanks again Jinhee, John and Andy!

Now I'm going to try to put into words what I attempted to express in the objects below.

A good artist will find helpful an appreciation for mayhem, lust and greed. Some artists appreciate them more conventionally than others but in general these impulses are beneficial to the artistic process.

I myself am peace-loving and cowardly so I look at mayhem, lust and greed in a somewhat figurative sense. I don't advocate going after one's neighbors with a machete. My brand of mayhem is more along the lines of putting on a green wig and making tequila-laced cupcakes just for fun. Also working in a studio that looks as though I'd left all the windows open during a tornado, being open to mistakes, sudden new directions, connections between disparate thoughts and objects, being eager to try new things and to look at things with new eyes, being comfortable with being off-kilter. Conceptual mayhem.

I mean lust both specifically and generally. Physical lust is a great inspiration and source of energy. Lust inspires ideas that one might never have in a different mental state. It feels exhilarating, engaging and fertile- qualities I love to encounter when experienceing art myself. It's wonderful to be able to put those energies into something one is working on.

Then there's the more general lust for the good things: a fascinating new idea, a new way of perceiving something, mastery of a new technique, joy in the pleasures of experimentation. Desire that spurs one on to hunt down and claim the object of one's lust.

Now for greed. Naturally I am not talking about money-grubbing (although I am sure that there is an artist somewhere who will find a way to make literal amassing of funds into art) Similar to the general sense of lust, I mean greed for the good things. A healthy desire for MORE MORE MORE. More of whatever it is that moves the artist. More color, more restraint, more freedom, more specificity, more black, more space, hell - more publicity. Whatever - just more. Not more than anybody else or all for me and none for you. I'm working from a perception of abundance.

Am I soft-pedaling the evils of mayhem, lust and greed? I certainly don't claim that they are always good things. I'm saying they aren't always sinful and sometimes they are very useful. A person can't help being lustful or greedy but they can try to control how they act. It is possible to exercise all these feelings, to enjoy them and to use them to enhance one's creative process without doing damage to anybody else. It's a matter of judicious use (Sin in moderation and you'll be okay - ha!)

Artists need to think creatively, to discern which path to take in the pursuit of their ideas and to keep at their work until they get where they're going. Mayhem forces one to confront upset expectations, eases unusual juxtapositions of objects and thoughts and produces a state of flux that necessitates new ideas. Lust is the creative impulse, a good indicator of what is really interesting to the artist and a good source of energy to feed the work. Greed helps the artist to grab what they need to keep them going on their journey and offers incentive to keep reaching.

So those are the ideas behind the words. For my next post I will go into "why plates and why do they look like that?"

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