I've been putting a lot of thought lately into Art and its purpose. Basically, I feel like my life's calling is to be an artist, both as a writer of stories and a composer of songs. I have this one nagging obsession, I have to assign a purpose to everything I do. Maybe I've read too much Rick Warren or something, or maybe too much Craig Ferguson. J
At any rate, in my time of study and reflection, I've boiled down the purpose of Art to a few points, which I'll expound on a little bit here and more, hopefully, later:
- The purpose of Art is to be created. I've come to view art as the metaphysical blob that is waiting for some starving artist to give it a physical existence. It's waiting for someone to pull out the quill and ink, or strum the lute, and give it a birthday. Art is meant to be created, not copied, not rebranded, not even repackaged. What this means for the artist is that he has an obligation to be creative. The artist can't be happy with putting forth something that is half baked, or shoddily done. Everything the artist does should be done creatively, or else art does not realize its purpose.
- The purpose of Art is to express. I've heard some people say that art is a form of communication, and I think that's true. But I think it communicates in the same way a face communicates, or a shrug. It's an expression, not a message. In "the biz" they talk about something being "on the nose" or "preachy," what they're saying is that the artist chose to deliver a message instead of express an idea or a theme. That's why it's the obligation of an artist to feel.
So you want to decry the slaughtering of pigs for breakfast. Don't have a character talk about slaughtering pigs for breakfast. Stare into the face of your issue until you can't help but be moved by emotion, and then express that emotion creatively, without assigning it an essay or a platform.
- The purpose of Art is to be interpreted. Some people believe art to be the result of a private moment between the artist and his canvas, whatever that may be. But art without an audience isn't really art, it's self-gratification. It is only when your art has been taken into the hands of others and they take ownership of it, assigning it their own value and meaning, making it a part of their own story, that you have truly created a masterpiece. It is therefore the purpose of the artist to have an attitude of open-mindedness. Go ahead and utilize those archetypes, let your work be rife with symbolism, add in the random stroke or chord or phrase that even you don't fully understand. The art isn't just for you, it's for everyone. Give them something to chew on that you might normally pass over, let them find a diamond where you had created sand. By doing this, you are allowing the art to go beyond yourself, and to truly reach the masses.
So, that's my take for now. If anyone has any additional thoughts, I'd love to hear them!