“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams
In yesterday’s post I explored the concept of art as shit disturber/status quo shaker/comfort zone breaker. This had come about in my own attempt to do something to shake myself out of my own comfort zone and had brought to mind the words of Banksy who said, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
The artwork that resulted from this, which I also shared in yesterday’s post, was a simple abstract background done with water color pencil over which I did a pen line drawing of a figure, along with a portion of the Banksy quote above. When I was done with that I felt I wasn’t done with the idea as a whole. So I grabbed ahold of a piece of the Ansel Adams quote at the beginning of this post and created the artwork you see above it.
It struck me that when I took just those few words, “build confidence in the creative spirit”, it became something different than the encouragement I believe Ansel Adams meant it to be. That phrase by itself sounds more like an imperative statement, an exhortation, something that must be done. That brought to mind a thought that has been growing in me: The importance of building up the creative spirit in other people.
One of the beautiful things about connecting with other artists is that, as a rule, the community is a very supportive and encouraging one. Artists lift each other up. Artists are inspired by other artists, of course. But the whole creative enterprise, the imagination and production, the struggle and battle, of being an artist – which at times can feel so individualistic – is at its core a shared experience. We need each other and need to be propped up at times by those who know what we go through to get that creativity out.
The figure I drew over the abstract design in the background of this work is meant to convey this sense of propping up. It is something I have greatly appreciated from not only fellow artists but from anyone who views my artwork and gives me feedback, expresses their enjoyment of it, or gives a helpful critique. Though artists can often be reserved, introverted types, the irony is that they need people – as viewers, as experiencers, as fellow-travelers – in order for their art to become more than they could make it be on their own.
After completing this second artwork similar in design to the first, I also had my name for these works: Creative spirits. And I had purpose for creating more.