Friday, February 17, 2006

Stay awake

I just ran across a very inspiring essay (once, it was a graduation speech) about keeping creativity alive. Everyone should read this, especially if you are an artist, or aspiring artist, of any kind.

(The link is in this post's title.)

An excerpt:

...This is the real and secret reason for wandering around with a camera and an open mind. Making art changes us. So does looking at it. Richard Serra, the sculptor, said (vehemently, as he says everything), “Art has no function!” He meant that you can’t sit on real art or cook on real art or live in it (he was talking about architecture). But I think it does have one function, which is to change those who make it and those who see it. Of course, it is not the only thing that does that. New arguments change us, new concepts, new people, new places...even propaganda. But artists make the change from inside. They use it to grow themselves. It is exalting—and exaltation is pretty hard to find in the every day.

So there’s a succinct definition of a good day of art for you: the person who comes home from making it is not the same person who left that morning. It may not always be a huge change, but it’s there and it adds up.

And if you do it enough, you start to trust the process without understanding it. You start to count on it, to invoke it, to work with it, and as you experience it you are less and less willing to accept from yourself work that looks like something you’ve seen elsewhere.