Life in Art

May 8, 2017
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About a year ago, I was having a wonderful conversation over e-mail with the college counselor I had at that time. She said, "Everyday life is not a mere backdrop to the art we make...True art must bring us back crawling on our knees to transform life. The goal of every good artist is in fact to obliterate this distinction between life and art. In other words, life is not why we run to art, nor is it mere fodder for art. Life is why we seek out is the alchemy for turning gray life into chrome."

It was in response to what I had said previously, and although it's been a while, I still disagree. 

We mutually agreed upon the fact that art evolved us into a better person, beneficially matured our thinking process, but there was a disconnect on how life played a role in art. 

I believe art infuses with average days to make them extraordinary. Think about a piece of art, i.e. painting, writing, sculpture, that moved you to a degree. A simple word or stroke of the brush made you experience a raw emotion that has rarely been brought out so purely. That day you witnessed that extraordinary art made your day magical and changed your life, and the creativity derived from that inspiration could be used to better the world and general knowledge everyday. After all, a little imaginative thinking was needed in order to fathom the idea of gravity.

The reverse is also true. The everyday does infuse meaning into art, whether it be in the form of inspiration or the meaning of what the art piece means to the artist. Without a norm, without a depressing, tedious routine, without the social quota, there would be no "wow-factor" in art that strikes you deeply. If we were able to do whatever we wanted in life without a care in the world, art could be impressive, but not as stunning and impressionable without the average day. 

The days don't seem as average or ordinary as before through art, but in order for art to strike us when we really need it, life needs to be average, because only then will art be truly meaningful. 

Art transforms life into something wonderful and exciting, but without the mediocrity of life, that spark of hope and joy created by art loses some of its appeal. It is a reason why we turn to art, not to escape and be cowards, but because it gives us a brilliant moment in time when we are truly artists and everything is a colorful explosion, if only briefly before we return to gray life. 

But it's that gray life that feeds us this wonderful feeling of creativity. You must admit you have felt it before. You get inspired and passionate and everything else melts away but the art, but that passion and art wanderlust eventually fades not because there's no more left, but because it's no longer special and exciting. 

That burst of creative happiness occurs because we are struck with such imagination in this dull world. It can last for an hour, months, even years! But it all dies out eventually because suddenly, those ideas are no longer original and awe-inspiring, they are no longer fueled by a drive stronger than your appetite. 

Suddenly, you wish for the normality of life, even though it may be suffocating and painful to endure because it's what makes you unique and different in this world and in your art.

The average days seem insignificant, but they're what make your art so significant. It makes you and your art stand out in the crowd. It is the distinction between the gray of your tedious life and the color of your creativity that makes art so special.

It's like putting rainbow cloth against a steel background and a background of the same cloth and asking which one seems to pop out more, which one seems to have a bigger presence. 

To be fair, others may say the cloth held up to the same pattern may have a bigger meaning and presence because there's simply more, but the contrast of the cloth and the steel makes that sample more obvious and striking. 

Sometimes, the boring routine is what frustrates you, but it is what proves to make that artistic fluidity all the more brilliant. Art is a connector to life, not a transformer.

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