Good Friends, every once in a while, making the art, my mind says to me, 'This work is love.' Then I think, 'What? What’s that supposed to mean? Is that a mere pink dust-bunny in my head?' For this Valentines Day, let me count the ways I actually think there’s something in that recurring thought — some common threads of love & art:
We take a risk in creating art and putting it out there, we make ourselves vulnerable. We can — we do — get hurt. But we throw ourselves into it again and again because it somehow matters, because we somehow have to. To do it well and freely, we need to be willing to look foolish, to reach out and risk being slapped back. We set out our beating heart on a plate and say, 'Dig in!'
Art going into the world is a dance for two, the maker and receiver united for a moment in the language of that particular thought. It’s a “you’re not alone, for there’s an echo in me.” Art can reach across outer barriers and speak directly to the Other, whoever that may be. It can unite on a level deep enough to bypass division (even of centuries) and remind us of our shared life.
For me, doing the art is a setting aside of the confined self for something more: I aim to make myself transparent, a lens for the Idea. This is particularly true for subjects based in myth or legend, which have an arc before and after my individual take. Yet as I let them 'talk back,' they become more my own. There’s a paradox in this relationship: the more you are true to your unique vision, the more likely it is to possess eloquence for others, or so I believe.
'Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,' writes Shakespeare, and so it is with the making and perceiving of art, I think, at least the kind I indulge in. Art entwines with our memories, our pain, our history personal and universal, as well as with our hopes, purposes and perhaps earliest, yet-unblemished visions — like Ms. Barrett Browning says:
'I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.'
I thank you all for being here! And, what do you think?