Saturday, May 24, 2014

What Is Art? Part Two

Okay, this thought process I am in, this questioning "Art" in various aspects, has me mind wandering still, so I think I will make this on ongoing series. Another layer to look at underneath the surface, underneath the obvious, another layer to ponder.  Aside from the irresistible urges to create, I do believe there are many more reasons why we call upon ourselves to make our art.  I understand the need aspect very well now.  I also understand the aspect of needing to be accepted.  Not only by our mentors and peers, by ourselves.

A while ago during our in depth project of learning and performing Brahms' Requiem, I found myself into a conversation with a fellow singer to help while away the waiting periods.  Another aspect of being a performer is learning patience, waiting happens a lot, better learn how to deal with that, right.  Anyways, I unexpectedly found myself being faced with having to tell someone I am an artist.  I don't know why that feels uncomfortable to me still, but it does.  Once the cat is out of the art sack, another challenge hits me, I feel like I am supposed to confirm this is true in depth. You are an artist??... they ask, and I seize up.  No, I don't gain an extra foot in height and bra size, I shrink actually.  But I know my art is worth defending so I try my best to show I am confident about it.  The plus in self promotion in art of today is internet.  Not like the old days of digging around the bottom of my purse to find a dog eared business card to hand them, which in itself I rarely did, really had a problem with that action, that old.. " here's my card, call me"  ugh, hated doing that.  Anywaysaways, now, in today's world of internet, I can confirm I have a website.  SO, when interested person asked if I had a website, I said yes.  Then, when interested person asked the address of it, I told her.  So much better in today's world.

The next day as we were being herded to our next spot to wait in, fellow singer said to me " Hey, I looked up your website, I was so surprised, you really ARE an artist, nice work."  I felt many fleeting emotions at that moment.  I felt happy about being accepted, passing the grade of inspection.  I felt appreciative of being told someone took the time to look me up, that was nice of them. But I still feel awkward in these moments of being noticed art wise.  I guess I'm not supposed to do anything more than modestly say thank you, that's all there is required.  Then, said fellow singer, then she said.. " ...and I read your bio and blog, and uh...just so you know, I am an editor and writer, I can help you with that if you like. Some areas had poor grammar. "  Okay, my puffed up balloon was hissing a bit now, I just smiled back at her.  Oh wait, no, I didn't just smile back, I answered her. I said "I am sure it does, I write them often and go back months later to read them and have a good laugh at myself."

As artists, I have come to understand the importance of accepting ourselves for who we are on all levels.  I know this writing professional knows how to write better than I do. If I were writing a book to be published, I know an editor would be required to straighten out my words to read better, I know that.  But isn't art about being honest?  A lot of what I write is done in humour, grains of salt to dry up the River Thames, tongue in cheek to keep me less hard on myself.  There was a time when I would have run home and removed every word on that sadly neglected art website of mine in cringing shame.  Not now.  Now I take some pride in my lack of perfection.  Today I am aware of my failings and mistakes, and accept them as part of the harmony that makes me who I am.  For really, a conversation from our artistic souls should not be all about perfection and regulations.  Too many times I allowed myself to be formed into a shape others were demanding of me, and I was uncomfortable because it wasn't me. Does that make sense?

I choose to transfer my art through an honest eye.  I try daily to see who I am in an honest way. I know my faults. I understand my ranges of moods much better now.  I can rationalize my sense of discouragements knowing it's not about being what someone else envisions, it's about what I envision.  I can come here and write a bad poem or blog with poor grammar, but the message from me is there, and that to me is what's most important.

Oh, the vast subject of Art.  What does it mean and why do we do this??   This could take years of bad writing and pondering for me, but that's a good thing.  As I sit here still in reveling recall of the best parts of Brahms creation playing back in my head, I know how important it truly is.

Thanks for listening!

Mary Ann


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