Sunday, November 16, 2008

Artist Unknown

If you want to be an artist and you're not already one, chances are it’s never going to happen. Let’s suppose you want to learn how to draw a face, so you take an art class at the rec. center; sooner or later you’ll get something like the picture below.
You’ll learn that you have to draw a circle, then some lines across the circle for proportion and to locate the eyes, nose, ears, forehead and chin, so on and so on and so on. But it can hardly be the case that the ancients drew circles and lines any more then great artists today do. My brother, for example, is a wonderful artist and I’ve never seen this technique being used in his drawings. There as well, speaking for myself, there’s no amount of training, circle drawing, so on, that will render my hand with the talent of drawing a face.

So, I wonder, where did it come from, this process? Do me the pleasure of watching the following video, you’ll find that although childish, it nicely illustrates my point. It’s 10 mins…

I like to imagine that at some point in history there was some stuffy no good Squidward who was all tangled up in jealousy and envy that he went to the artist and said, “Show your process!” of course the artist likely didn’t know what the heck he was talking about and simply drew his face as he usually did. However, through a painstaking process of trial and error, Squidward finally made scientific (or so he thought) what was once a masterpiece drawn from the hand of an artist who simply went on feel. Now we can all draw faces, can’t we? Or at least we know how, don’t we?

Of course, this isn’t to take away from the fact that practice makes perfect, you can’t simply pick up a guitar, sit down at a piano or pick up a pencil and have at it. But surely there is something special about individuals who are “naturals” at these sorts of things.

Anyway, without going to deep into the detail (as I imagine one gets the jist) my real point lies elsewhere. The “artistic process” as learned at the rec. center is nothing more than a dogma, or so I'll suggest. As seen in the video, once the dogma got in the way of Spongebob’s natural ability and he began thinking in terms of a process, a “right way” of doing things, he was unable to perform. Consider that most of the great discoveries made by mankind, whether it be in philosophy, physics, so on, were made by young individuals in they’re 20’s. Einstein is a perfect example, as he became older his creativity was stifled; and of course there are countless others.

Consider these three quotes from Einstein:
- "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
- "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
- "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.”

We are taught from a young age how to use reason, and how to see the world rationally. Somewhere in this process, it seems, we loose the ability to believe, we loose the ability to see and to imagine. Truth beyond words, beyond the dogma, becomes no truth at all.

Perhaps, (on the other hand) one’s ability to see the truth existing beyond words is no different then one’s ability to draw a face. Perhaps some just don’t get it, can’t get it? Without a process of understanding, there is no truth in the matter for some? If something isn’t scientific, rational, logical, then for some it simply doesn’t exist. I consider this a tragedy in some way, but I suppose it’s no less a tragedy then my inability to “get” the atheist, or paint a picture for myself.

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