To me it is just beyond reach. It cannot be defined and it can't be kept. When you've known it even just a little, it's something that is longed for the rest of your life. It's a connection that hums deep and low and harmonizes with the spirit. I want to paint it, I want to make that kind of art.
Art is a word much like love. Love is used on so many levels, I can love crackerjacks and I can love, well...a lot deeper as well. Art is like that too. It is a word used in so many ways for too many things. The art that I'm talking about is sacred and mysterious, not diluted or caffeine free.
The other day, one of my girlfriends called me after returning from seeing one of my very favorite bands, the Stars. She said it was so beautiful, one of the most transcendental moments of her life and she just stood there and cried. I've felt like that before in regard to certain artworks. One of those experiences, in a New Jersey museum at night, in front of some paintings. I've cried in the Met before, and I know I'm not the only one. Art is powerful. It's a power that pulls on the soul. It can tap into what can't be named, the sublime. (Not he who can't be named, i.e. Voldmort.) Art is a tool.
Shouldn't there be another name for it? I don't think that all people who paint are artists. I sometimes have a hard time saying I'm an artist sometimes because I don't think I'm worthy. I call myself a painter more easily. I can only talk about paintings because that is what I know. I don't think all paintings are art. A lot of what I see is just decoration and is decoration art? My Dan Barney would probably theorize about visual culture and a way of living, but I want art to be that special, unique something to grasp and live and work for, for the rest of my life. I know someone who makes art that merges concepts of family and history and craft, but she won't call it art. I think it is. I understand that it would be dangerous to put perimeters and rules on it, so many have tried before.
If artwork is created with sincerity I think I trust it. I wish everybody who makes things would be responsible for that which they are creating. Not all of us have the same capacity/knowledge base, sure, but if images are used, doesn't the creator have an obligation to try to have ownership of what she/he puts out there? Shouldn't she/he make it her/his own as well?
The drawing above illustrates how I often feel when painting and talking about my sincere feelings. I think in order to even have a chance at creating paintings that can be what I have described above, I have to thrust my vulnerable exposed self forward. My ambitions are beyond decoration, I want to make art and that's almost always just beyond reach.