I have no picture for this post. However, this will be my most significant post thus far. It will be simple and short in its approach, but beyond meaningful to me; for I have discovered a flaw in my character; and a flaw in my character, I believe, will manifest itself in my art.
I have spent the past several years attempting to increase my technical skill in art. I’ve had many people tell me that you can’t create a piece of art relying on technical skill alone, but instead must consider the ‘something else’ that makes it artistic. I listened but was not sure what this ‘something else’ to which they were referring was exactly. So, I continued to focus on technical skill. I refused to resort to abstract non-representational art, for this type of art appeared to exist within the other extreme and would still not give the result for which I was looking. I have increased my skill through consistent observance and practice. However, though my technical skill has increased, there is still something missing in my work.
I was on facebook not too long ago, and I posted something regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden. I had a good friend repost that post word for word on their own status. I received a great deal of positive feedback on my post. My friend, however, received very little feedback, and the feedback that was received was negative. My friend playfully inquired as to why, and I responded that it, from my understanding, was because what I said came from my heart; it was an unadulterated statement that was my own sincere thought. I continued: when I post a quote from another individual, even if they be famous, I get little feedback as well.
After quite awhile of being distracted from creating works of art, I had a chance to draw the other night for about 30 minutes. However, while looking at the drawing, I was impressed with my technical skill but still found myself thinking it a sub-par drawing. I think my facebook experience has helped me understand why I am so disappointed with much of my work: though I attempt to technically perfect what is in front of me, it hardly ever comes from my heart. I’m not referring to ‘putting emotion’ into a piece: what good has emotion ever done anyone?
I am referring to the actual goodness that I naturally possess and want to possess. The same goodness I put into my words should also be in my art. At this point, my art lacks that ‘goodness.’ It is instead an attempt to reproduce a photograph in most cases (since most of my commissioned works are portraits); and my mind, throughout the process, is either on making it technically sound or is distracted by things that have nothing to do with art. How dare I call myself an artist! I would rather focus on how technically sound my work is in order to show off to whomever may see it instead of create a truly inspirational piece of artwork; I would rather allow myself to be distracted by pointless things than focus to create a truly inspirational piece of artwork: I’m ashamed of myself…
I feel like I can finally generally define what an artist is: an artist is a person who first requires their mind and person to be of an increasingly good nature; and with that good-natured mind, the artist creates a visual representation that encourages the same ‘good-naturedness’ in others 🙂
The time ahead will be dedicated to focusing my mind on the above.
Zhang Cuiying has encouraged my resolve:
So has this article by Shi Ran about Li Sixun: http://pureinsight.org/node/1785
Thank you for reading my limited understanding,