“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” – Emile Zola
I’ve always loved to draw, paint and write and I’ve tried to develop my skills throughout the years by reading books, comparing famous artists and – of course – by practicing. But does this devotion already make me an artist? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. In order to answer this question it is important to ask: What is art?? It’s a fact that art lacks a proper definition. Three simple letters try to express a progress going on since the dawn of mankind. If I asked ten different people on the street how to explain the term, I would probably get ten an a half different answers. I think there is a reason why we cannot define art. Maybe the secret of art is the variety of its interpretations. For me, being an artist is not a certain condition but more a journey through life. Well, I guess in this regard I can consider myself to be some kind of artist or at least to be on my way there. Now, what does art mean to me? Why do I want it to be part of my life?
I. Creating a world…MY world
No matter if you make a film, take a photo, paint or write, you do not only express the world around you. You also express your opinion and experiences and therefore your whole personality. I think, art provides me with the freedom to present myself in a way that goes beyond the limits of language, communication or distance. But only because you can find a part of me in my artistic work, it does not necessarily mean that everyone who gets in touch with it will understand how I think or who I am. At this point I agree with two of our in class visitors, Jimmy Joe Roche and Adam Grey: art doesn’t need a purpose and no message needs to be conveyed. If the spectator recognizes something of himself in a piece of art and starts interpreting it in his own way, he adds a new dimension to the artwork but he does not take away the expression of my personality.
II. The Child Within
Growing up means to start bearing responsibility, focusing on your future and showing that you can apply all the knowledge you’ve learned so far. But do you remember how you saw the world as a kid? Some months ago my mother showed me a video she had made when I was two years old. The word I used the most (27 times in 5 minutes footage) was “WHY?” When we are little, everything around us is a miracle that is worth being explored. Our imagination has no limits; a sheet and an old mattress is all we need to go on a safari or to be a pirate fighting against a storm. As adults we think we would understand the world around us because we’ve studied sciences that tell us the rules everything seems to conform with. To me, being an artist means to preserve the child within me. I try to consider things from a different point of view. But seeing the world through the eyes of a child does not mean to act immature. I think it means to cross the limits of rational ways of thinking and to question phenomena or things we usually take for granted. A child is never satisfied with a simple answer, it will always continue asking “why?”. Moreover, I want to make art that surprises people. That’s why I was very impressed by the films of Werner Herzog. He managed to mislead the expectations of his audience. Therefore, he got his message in a very unconventional way across. Usually the audience can predict the moral of a plot and is prepared for a certain ending. But the fact that in his films the images clash with the text or the music makes it impossible to tell in what direction the film is heading.
III. Just Do It!
My biggest mistake in the last few years was to let my insecurity about my skills take over my excitement about art. I usually wanted to wait until I was better before putting a good idea into practice because I thought the outcome would be not as well executed as possible. Fortunately, I have realized that the only way to improve my skills is to plunge in at the deep end and to allow myself to make mistakes. This is the only way to find my own personal way of art, my strengths and my weaknesses!
IV. Art as Part of My Life
What I have experienced within the last couple of years is the fact that creativity cannot be scheduled. Sometimes I plan to draw or to write at a certain time but the moment I sit down my head is empty – no idea where to begin or what to develop, while sometimes I feel very creative and full of energy when I am supposed to focus on other activities. My goal for the future is to take my time for any kind of creative impulses and to be prepared to jot down ideas whenever and wherever they come to my mind…maybe I should start carrying a notebook with me!