Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Do You See What I See?

Degas said "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." But not everyone will have the same experience of a given work of art. So is art (including writing, music, cooking, or any other creative form of expression) process based or outcome based? I keep coming back to that question about what defines art.
I think the creative process needs more than just beauty behind it. In fact, my virtual writer's "editing room floor" is littered with many a lovely turn of phrase because, while lovely, they didn't do enough work in communicating the meaning of the piece I was working on. I've heard soloists sing in church who were technically flawless, but there was something missing. For one reason or another, the passion was missing. The meaning of the work as an act of worship was lost, perhaps because the singer was distracted. There are certain photographers and painters I like because they see something I don't see, and when I see their work, I get a glimpse of that.
I bet at one time or another (maybe even right now) you've doubted your own creative potential. Maybe you instinctively knew that art is more than a bunch of notes, colors, or words together just because they're pretty. Well, I have an assignment for you.
Grab a sheet of paper. Seriously. And I know most of you reading are friends and family, so I will check up on you! Now grab a writing utensil. Using your non-dominant hand (the opposite of the one you usually write with), write your name nice & big in the middle of the paper. Now write it again somewhere else on the page. Use your full name, your nickname, any form of your name you want. Keep writing all over the page. Turn the page sideways, upside down, any way you want. It's OK if you overlap signatures. Get your page nice & full & then you can stop.
Now, I know some of you gentle readers are slackers. So I'm going to give y'all a couple days to do this first part and then I will tell you what to do next.

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