Into the Heart-mind of an Artist

When did the Artist give way to the Art world?
By David Yanez 4-24-09

Haven’t we all at one time or another wondered what it would be like to be in the mind of another person, to see through their eyes and know everything they think and feel. I know I have. For thousands of years artists, writers and musicians have been giving us pieces of their minds. Enough to capture our attention and want more, more of that which we ourselves can never have, more of their minds and the need to experience their minds, and escape for an instant into a realm other than our own reality. Like a drug the artists mind through images, words, music or sounds, intoxicate our own minds leaving us with this desire for more. It’s not always aesthetic pleasure that we feel, but a whole range of perceptions of the senses, from pleasure to pain. It’s an experience, which is individual to the observer and interpreted uniquely by everyone. You’ll find no identical mind in nature. Just like fingerprints and snowflakes none are the same. Even identical information is processed uniquely by each mind. To limit art, as an aesthetic of pleasure, or beauty has been a mistake by those who try to label it, and categorize it, and try to make it into something other than what it truly is; the Artists mind. It all originates in the artists mind, whether they’re his or her paintings, photographs, poems, music, emotions, concepts, writings, dance, abstract performances or installations. Call it a snapshot of their minds, expressed in one form or another by the artist and interpreted individually by the observer. Even art created spontaneously with no thought in mind is ultimately presented by the artist for the observer and thus becomes a reflection of what the artist wants to express. If an artist says they paint for themselves then why paint at all? Is it because they get pleasure from it? Does it relax them? Is it therapeutical? If so, then the artists themselves become the observers, and are the ones whose aesthetic perceptions are influenced. They are in essence entering their own minds and reflecting.

Close your eyes and relax, let yourself think naturally, without forcing any one thought, feeling or emotion. You’ll find that your mind tends to wander off in several directions. You may be thinking of one thing at the moment and all of a sudden you’re thinking about something else totally unrelated. Maybe the change was triggered by a sound or a smell, who knows. When we’re relaxed, and not interacting with the outside world, our inner mind is who we are. There we experience everything that we are, every emotion, thought, image, sound, layers upon layers of feelings, information, and experience’s. A life time of things we’ve heard, seen, touched, mourned about, felt happy about, a life time of memories, good and bad, secrets, lies, love, hate, envy, jealousy, compassion, evil and goodness. It’s all in this inner mind, which only we the owners of that mind are privileged to see. It is our outer minds that we project and make public. It is this rational outer mind that enables us to interact with our environment, enables us to hold conversations without being distracted by a sound or smell during an important presentation. It is what keeps us aware of dangerous situations. We would be helpless if we were controlled by our inner subconscious mind, like babes in the woods. Taking narcotics or alcohol is a way of numbing the rational part of our minds, exposing us to the inner subconscious mind. But what if we could see someone else’s inner mind without taking drugs. We can, and we have been for ages, by entering the artists mind.

As artists we have the ability to share what is deep inside our minds. We have that artistic ability combined with imagination, but what exactly does that mean? Artistic ability means creative ability. We seek creative ways of communicating that which we experience, and imagine, and create that, which has never been experienced. We all have the ability to be creative and imaginative, but some are better at it than most. Take for instance a theoretical physicist; they have some of the most imaginative minds around. They can creatively imagine things that only a few can imagine. What separates a theoretical physicist from an artist is a fine line, and that fine line is in what goal they want to achieve. Science uses creative imagination, and creative technology combined with experimentation, and observation in order to seek truth, and to create that which is beneficial or not beneficial to mankind. Artists use creative imagination, and creative technology combined with experimentation, and observation in order to create, interpret, express, seek truth and communicate that which they have experienced, learned or imagined. Science they say is a recent human development, and art has been around for thousands of years, but creative thinking has been around even longer. It is this creative thinking that has led humans to science, art and spirituality.

"You can’t create art if you have no idea what is true and what isn’t; on the other hand, merely knowing truth and not having art might prevent us from appreciating the importance of truth and a life lived with truth."

Austin Cline

Throughout the years art has been documented, archived, written about, labeled, defined as, and taught as though we know exactly what it is. No one really knows what art is, and those who pretend to know have only their opinion to back it up. Art history cannot tell us what art is, only what art was at a particular time. Art continues to evolve and redefine itself, but the artists mind has always been, and will always be a part of it, as well as the observer’s interpretation of what they consider to be art.

There has been so much said about the ‘Art World’, but what is the art world? We know that art in ancient times was intertwined with the lives of humanity, it was a necessary part of our education and further advanced our cultures, but when did we start to consider art as a thing unto itself? When did humanity separate art from the masses, and then from the artist themselves? When did the artist and culture give way to the art world? When did the real world give way to the art world? In the past, art was used to educate, or communicate certain ideas and beliefs that were of importance to us. Artist's used creative ways to communicate this information. Art was also used for decoration, and as a means to aesthetically adorn and surround ourselves with beauty. We used it to distinguish ourselves from other cultures. We used it to please ourselves, we used it in our architecture, we adapted it into performance, and musical expression. Art of the past was intertwined with the fabric of our society. We see the same thing in modern society. We see creative decoration throughout our daily lives from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. We see it in the houses we live in from public buildings, parks, and monuments. We are bombarded with creative communications through, newspapers, magazines, mailings, billboards, television, radio, and the Internet. Like our cave dwelling ancestors we use creative ways of communicating ideas and beliefs.

We no longer crawl into torch lit caves with painted walls to experience new concepts, or beliefs. Instead we go to dimly lit movie theaters, galleries, museums, libraries, or watch television, listen to radio, read publications, or go online. Religious buildings still act to communicate spiritual beliefs, as did the ancient cave walls. As in the past, art is still intertwined with the very fabric of our society, but its importance has diminished in our daily lives. We no longer rely on art to inform us as we did in the past. Modern technology keeps us informed about what we need to know. Books hold our collective knowledge bound on a shelf waiting to be set free in our minds. Education has moved away from the arts and relies more on reading, mathematics, and the teaching of basic skills. We are surrounded and influenced by art, but we are no longer educated by it.

When ancient humans looked at the images on cave walls they were transformed into a world that they could only imagine. Artists of the past were able to share their imaginations with others by creatively expressing what they considered to be important to our survival. Sure, humans most likely had good language skills, but compared to present day language it was not enough to convey all that our minds could imagine. Creative writing was not yet invented and mythology was in its infancy. Humans relied on the oral tradition of passing down stories from one generation to the next. Art was a highly advanced communication skill. Art was a way to penetrate people’s minds, and influence their thoughts. It was a way to educate your children, and give them the necessary information to survive.

Art needs to be about the artist once more. Why should an artist or even an individual hold back their inner selves? Why should we keep who we are mysterious or ambiguous? Wouldn’t you just once like to enter someone else’s mind and glimpse their soul? I don’t believe in souls or life after death, but who and what I was, can survive through my art.

My art is my mind as well as my heart.
It is what I am and who I am.
It is my memories good and bad
My nightmares and my dreams
It is all that I ever experienced
And All I will ever be.
It is a snapshot of my mind
Developing before your eyes
Judge not what you see before thee
Just accept me as I am
I am me, inside of you.

Copyright 2009 David Yanez. All Rights Reserved.
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