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by Katerina Charisi
2017-03-12 12:09:59
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Ok, let’s be honest. Not everybody appreciates art and/or artists. Sometimes not even our own people, friends or family. Think about it: When we were little, our family and teachers encouraged us (even pushed us too hard) to be creative and artistic, if we managed to strike a few keys in the piano or paint our uncle’s face at 6, we made everyone proud. Right? And then something changed. Somehow, all the beautiful things we made didn’t mean a thing anymore.

katerina01_400Every human being is born an artist, Picasso said. Hard thing is to remain an artist when grow up. It’s not easy. There is no support, even if someone studies art, because there comes the day that students graduate art school and then what? Not many people continue after that point; there is no one to show their art, no common ground for criticism and evolvement, no encouragement, the need for a normal (=provides payment) day job overcomes the will (or the inner need) to create, even parents feel that art is only a waste of time and instead of encouraging their children to be creative, they do exactly the opposite: They ask them to stop, grow up, find something more useful to do.

So there come the questions: Why should I do it? Am I talented at all? Who would care? How can I do it? Why can’t I do it? Is there a reward? Why is it so hard to create anything?

Those questions can be answered. Artology is the study of art. Not only one kind of art, but every kind. Art is everywhere and can be made out of anything; and guess what: It can be taught, it can evolve, it can be mastered (relative), it can change and change us too, it can make us better humans, it can help us to express ourselves, our worries, our fears and dreams. Artology means to be able to take what’s in your head (which usually is perfect!) and know all the ways to carry them out.

Being an artist is not only to exhibit our work and get paid. This can be a goal, but shouldn’t be our only goal, the only reason we keep going. Art is not about the reward and fame. Making art is an inner need that we learn to oppress as we grow up, often we don’t even recognize it, for there is no support by any system, or for not getting the most important point of it: It’s never about money and/or fame. If they come, they are welcome, but it’s not about them. It’s never about them. Still, there is the need of encouragement to keep going, so there must be a corresponding addressing by the system.

Give opportunities people! Make them feel it’s worth all the effort.

So many people quit. Quit, and there’s a huge difference between stopping and quitting. Stopping happens all the time; writers call it “the writer’s block”. But quitting is something else. You only quit once. Quit means not starting again.

There is a great misunderstanding about Art. Well, make them two. First, is the false belief that Art is made by a very small and very special, high intelligent group of people, with tons of talent and unbridled imagination. Second, is the also false belief that Artist, real Artist, is the one who exhibits and sells for a shitload of money their complete works.

Wrong and wrong.

Art is/can be ordinary and made by ordinary people. Imagination is only the spark that lights the fire. Imagination rules when you are standing in front of nothing, ready to make the first move. But move after move, word after word, brushstroke over brushstroke, chord after chord, piece after piece, imagination steps aside and technique, craft and years of practice take over. Talent is maybe a small step ahead when you begin, but sooner or later you’re going to reach the point where ...it doesn’t come easy anymore. Talent is good, but not enough. Without a sense of direction or a goal, without practice to expertise, without sharpening the skills, without discovering new ways of seeing, hearing, doing things, it doesn’t count of much. The world is full of naturally gifted people, some of them highly gifted, and the media die for such people that can give them material to show for a couple of days, but soon no one ever hears about those gifted people again. So, no one really cares about talent. Even Mozart improved himself by working hard, each day. He was an ordinary person, too! Stop wondering if you are talented enough. There is always space for improvement.

Art is difficult. Making art, is hard. Accepting ourselves as artists is even harder. Art seems to struggle nowadays, for various reasons that keep it out of our lives and prevent us from making it. Us, yes. Art is ordinary; made by ordinary people, I said that already, didn’t I? This is a thing we all need to accept. A super hero doesn’t need to make art. There is no perfect/ideal artist. Or, if there is a perfect/ideal artist then must an ordinary person, like you and me! Our flaws and difficulties, our weaknesses are a source of strength.

There are hundreds, thousands moments of disbelief, of thinking that what we create is not good, is not well made, is not going to be liked, but only one and single moment where art seems right: when we look to the finished project. So art has two sides; the viewer’s side and the artist’s side. For the viewer, what matters is the finished project, the completed piece of art, no matter what would that be, and a viewer only cares about that; to be moved, touched, inspired, or entertained by it. For the artist, what matters is the journey between the empty canvas and the completed painting; the blank paper and the story; the straight lines of the pentagram and the song. This journey is long, full of uncertainty, doubts and contradictions, loneliness and fear, and what you get in the end is learning better to do your thing. If you are an artist, the finished work yes, is another reason to feel proud of yourself, but this isn’t the only thing that matters.

Ever played a racing video game? I bet you have. Imagine yourself sitting on your couch Saturday evening with a bunch of friends, stuck in front of your monitors, joysticks in hands, compete each other in a race. You want to win. You want so badly to win; you’ve practiced all week in this same stage racing against time or computer again and again, knowing each turn, each tree or building in the scenery, knowing that there is a particular close left turn that is too hard to take successfully, too easy to flip and crash. And there it is; the close turn gets closer, you feel sweat running down your wrists, your friends shout against or over you, you try to focus, you calculate your moves, you slightly turn your wheel, you think that you can’t crash now, you can’t flip the car, you need to be careful and fast ...and bam. You crash right there, in that very same turn, while your opponent friend just takes is smoothly and wins the game. Game Over. Why, why? You had everything under control... Or you thought that you did. But art is not about control. In fact, people who can’t feel they have everything under control, are less likely to make any form of art. Art is risky; it’s complicated, insecure, suggestive, unpredictable. Art is balancing between hundreds of reasons to quit and only one to keep going. Yes, you need to be a little crazy for art.

Lesson of the day: When you act under fear, fears come true. And fear, is the major obstacle in artmaking.  Fear about yourself and doubts about your capabilities will stop you from doing your best, fear about how others will react to your art will stop you from doing your own, unique and special art.

When you accept this, you will fear no more.

Remember this: Art is all about starting again! Art is about learning how not to quit, no matter what; and if this isn’t the greatest lesson we can take about life, then nothing else is. This is Artology.

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