Growth and Change: An Artistic Standpoint

"Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is." ~ Willa Cather

I are working on our own growth, both personal and artistic, using art therapy, something I've attempted to do at more than one juncture. My friend "The Jeans" doesn't seem to get the concept of growth in relation to art, which is a tragedy since he is attempting to write an art proposal; Or, he's just fucking with me - which, let's face it, he does on a regular basis. In any case he's inspired me to do an entry about artistic growth, so I must thank him for his unnerving ability to inspire me.

Perplexed that a man of such intelligence does not understand the concept of growth, and stated so so convincingly that I went on a tangent about trees, trying to grasp for an example and doing nothing but coming off as an idiot, because when I speak I am a moron like that...and when time, and your audience is limited and impatient, you try to come up with a way to get your point across as quickly as possible, lest the topic change or they depart.

Growth is movement, development, and change, an expansion of your emotional and intellectual maturity. The goal of growth is all these. Artistic or otherwise, the point is expansion of what you understand about yourself, so that you can better understand the world around you.

“[All] growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” ~ Albert Einstein

I figure it makes sense that he doesn't understand growth from an artist standpoint since his most recent stance is "art is lie; writing is a lie" [paraphrased, of course]; which I, and others, think is bullshit. If one believes that art is a lie, purely a construct, then clearly one wouldn't understand growth in terms of art. I'm not surprised then, by his inability to understand it. Even if he chose to alter the term, in the end, from artistic 'growth' into 'change' - it's still the same concept, just a different word for him to not understand.

I think the biggest lies are the words that come out of people’s mouths, most of the time. I feel the realm of artistic creation provides more truth. Art and writing are an expression of the thoughts, feelings and experiences inside a person’s head, and from their life. Unless, of course one is an artist simply for the sake of creating art; but even then, those things, those images and words that come out of them, are created from life experiences, thoughts and feelings...influences; and therefore are not a lie, or in the last, are the closest to the truth a person can get.

It is in the observationalists interpretations of those truths; that art, those words, is where lies can grow; but it also where their own truth can be discovered, if they let it. By the analytical process of exploring the reasons one agrees with, and/or thinks and feels a certain way when they look at art, or read literature, is where truth can be found. Self-actualized truth, if you will. Growth.

"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." ~ Aristotle

For example, why, when one looks at a painting of flames do they, more often than not, associate negative connotations? From a biblical standpoint of influence, one can stand back and imagine flames are associated with hell. If one looks at it from an evolutionary standpoint, flames can also be indicative of progress; creation of fire = human evolution, etc. Finding meaning in the creation of your own art is where artistic growth takes place. Discovering where your perception of the creation of art comes from can be part of personal growth. For an artist these two things go hand in hand. At least for me.

I are just throwing seeds out there, trying to grow flowers with metaphorical fertilizer. I don't necessarily believe that fire is a symbol of anything in particular, though I certainly use symbolism is my artwork and writing, and while it's personal: it’s also open to interpretation. To those who prefer to approach everything with objectivism, I can understand why these concepts can be confusing. This is not a story.

I know that everything I say, and write, and create, is contestable. I prefer dialectic forms of "debate" most of the time; if only because I understand people approach everything in life backed with their own experiences, or lack thereof. One can only incite change by open rhetoric and appreciation for people’s unique lives; unless they have no experience to back themselves. Honestly, most people have something they can work with.

"Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” ~ Immanuel Kant

Knowing why you do something, why you paint something, why you write something, why you believe the things you do, is growth; applying those things to art, and using it as a medium to understand yourself is artistic growth. Using them to understand the world is maturity. In the end, it’s all growth.

"Don't take yourself too seriously. Growth comes through humility. Humility comes from wisdom, which comes with maturity."~ Bobbi Dunlop

Maybe the problem in trying to help The Jeans understand artistic growth is that he seems to approach most things in life with a modern philosophical viewpoint - he's great at rattling off names of great philosophers and prattling off memorized information spent from a lifetime of living in books; while I tend to approach life with a postmodern analytical view (if I had to label self hate labels), though I have certainly spent my time living in books. It’s the collision of two different words, both of which the either has little notion of.

Perhaps it is just the vast difference in upbringing and life experiences that causes the startling difference in the contradictory views of art, life and personal philosophies in juxtaposition of most people’s views, particularity The Jeans’.

I am just dipping my toes into the pool. Testing the waters, if you will, using far too much experience with life as a floatation device to our future.

This entry is simply a potential abstract for a future personal thesis; and to help an ass find the point of his project and help him along on his journey. I hope he finds the answer to his question, or at least finds his question.

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Ordinally posted online in its original form April 2011