For several years I have felt a deep urge to get my art out to the world, to allow it its own life.  My art seems to, at times, create itself , and I experience myself as the conduit for this process.  So these are the big questions: Does artwork truly have a life of its own?  Why do we as artists need to have our work seen?    What is the relationship between the self of the artist and his/ her work?  What separates the commercial aspect from the esthetic aspect of art?  Is art more important than furniture and do they match?     

With this blog I hope to explore the answers to these and other questions about art,  the self and society.   I hope you find it illuminating, humourous, insightful and entertaining. 

Some ruminations on the first question: Does art have a life of its’ own?

My first real art epiphany came while I was looking at the sunflower paintings of Vincent Van Gogh at the Ontario Art Gallery in Toronto sometime in the early Seventies.  These works were part of a larger exhibition of European Impressionists and, while the other works had merit, the paintings of Van Gogh had an palpable energy and a feeling of Life about them.  They were entities, not just bits of canvas with oily marks on them.  I absolutely knew that this man was a spiritual genius, whatever else we choose to call him.  His vision of the world, luminous, flowing and changing was a familiar one to me from prints and books, but I had never seen a collection of the originals before.  They were to change my life.    As a Zen Buddhist, I had felt an energy from certain Buddha figures, transcending their value as works of art, perhaps positively changing the life of those who saw them.  However I had never got such a strong feeling from a Western painting before.  At that moment,  I knew that I wanted to someday create works that would have such an effect on the observer.  Of course, as an amateur artist I thought that my chances of actually doing that were slim at best.   

Yet today, I know of several people who have had my paintings and drawings on their walls for decades and find them very life enhancing.  Does knowing this inflate my artist’s ego?  Or do these works have a life of their own, an importance that goes beyond matters of self congratulation and commercial value?  What is Value and where does it come from, the object, or the self, or is it a purely numinous quality?

Obviously, the artist lives, paints, and sooner or later passes on, though his/ her work may continue to enhance, change and affect many other lives.   

More on this tomorrow and some thoughts on art, the involvement of the mind and the sense of sight.

Here are a couple of quotes for you:

(creating) Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending. 

–  David Bayles and /or Ted Orland from the book “Art and Fear”

My work is a game, a very serious game.
  – M. C. Escher

Today’s image:  a cartoon self portrait with a three question marks. 

Question reality before it questions you.

Question reality before it questions you.

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