Sunday, February 7, 2010

We're a Sensitive Lot - Part III


Should be clear by now I am sticking with the pirate images. This one came up when I added parley to the Google Image search. Parley - A discussion or conference, especially one between enemies (or people on the other side of the divide) over terms of truce or other matters. I am reminded of Cool Hand Luke (another all time movie favorite of mine) and the classic line, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

And so we come to the paradox. Don't you love that word? For a visual artist I am very much in love with words. Another paradox. Paradox - A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. And so we get to the crux of the matter at long last. Artists are masters of communication but often cannot converse wisely.

In our own favored medium, be it paint or clay or song or poetic word or even essay, we can communicate the unspoken (another paradox), but put us in a room with non-pirates and we are often tongue tied and highly ineffectual at communication even when it is about our own chosen art. I have to do a lot of research in art magazines to know what it is I do in my studio.

We do passably well talking to each other from time to time, but as a friend of mine, who frequents art receptions pointed out, we are difficult to understand. We have our own shorthand and of course we have those guidelines I spoke of in the Part II that we merely have to allude to. And we were born, it seems, understanding things such as quality of light and tone, voice and ear, depth and balance. Musicians and writers in my audience please fill in your own buzz words here. Though frankly, as a sometime poet, I can apply all those visual art terms to poems also.

Summer art fair season begins soon and us pirates are going to have to communicate with land lovers as well as other artists. Remember that scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Captain Jack Sparrow is constantly getting slapped? And he hasn't a clue as to why. Nobody actually hits anyone at a fair but I sometimes come home in an evening and feel very wounded. We are such a sensitive lot. Maybe even over-sensitive lot.

I once taught adaptive skiing to people with special needs. The word functional was added a lot to rather more terminal words that tiptoed around the edge of politically correct. So you could have functional autism, etc. I always rather hated the term. I think I am a marginally functional human. I am a very functional artist. The same might be said for Beethoven or VanGogh or Mozart or Picasso or Shelley and Keats or Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald. The more you move people with your work the more concessions they are willing to make for your lack of real world communication skills. They will even translate for you.

That is my goal. I want to be known so well for my art that I merely have to smile and nod when forced out of my studio. Ever notice there are no politically correct terms for the creative?

1 comment:

  1. I think the key is to keep that sense of humor above all. Your potential customers may be put off if they suddenly realize they may have offended you, and may beat a hasty retreat.

    When I relax and laugh at myself with those who find humor in what I do, I find we all communicate better. I have tried very hard to let go of my sensitivities. I've not perfected it, but I've found it's a way to open up communications when they are about to shut down.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.