mad in pursuit notebook


What Are We Looking For?

Reading: ART AND FEAR: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERILS (AND REWARDS) OF ARTMAKING by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Kindle Edition)

"Making art" can refer to many things. I didn't make a career in the arts, but I had work that demanded creativity and innovation all the time. I like to think I'm pursuing the arts now, whether making my own or (by cataloging our collectibles) studying how others have done it. Anyway, I came across these passages in the book I picked up this week:

The need to make art may not stem solely from the need to express who you are, but from a need to complete a relationship with something outside yourself. As a maker of art you are custodian of issues larger than self.


... Artmaking grants access to worlds that may be dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive, or all of the above. It grants access to worlds you may otherwise never fully engage. It may in fact be the engagement--not the art--that you seek.

That reminds me that artmaking is likely to be connected to the spiritual quest that Pat and I are always talking about. Seems to me that being openminded--open to all the possibilities in the universe and beyond--is the key to a satisfying artistic AND spiritual life.

I was trying to think what first fired me up about some "relationship with something outside myself." Yes, I was a good Catholic school girl, loving the Blessed Mother and all the interesting saints. But I think it wasn't till I started studying Spanish that the universe cracked open for me. There were only four or five of us in the class and we sat around a table in the sunny home ec room, where our ethereally beautiful Sister K filled us with visions of Spain and made our brains think in Spanish. We memorized dialogues from recordings in the language lab. For weeks we weren't allowed to see the language in print--which would have let us apply all our English language assumptions and prejudices. It changed me. It engaged me in some new way that I'd never been engaged in before.

Funny that those passages brought back that memory.

Jul 22, 2012