The first Man to use language was not hailed as a genius. He said, “rock.” And everyone just stared at him. They had no idea what he meant. They thought he’d gone insane. There was no way to understand the noise he’d just made, no “rock” history, no “rock” context. It wasn’t until later, when a whole clan was using the word that the invention of language could be appreciated. The “co” in communication is absolutely critical.
For a very similar reason, poets read poetry. Journalists read newspapers. Musicians listen to music. Novelists read novels. Photographers look at photographs. And painters study paintings.
Dialogue is an integral part of the artistic process, so when a painter goes to a museum she is not necessarily going for inspiration. She is not going only to marvel at the great works of the masters. She is going to see how and where her own vision fits.
The painter interested in color fields will buy books on Mark Rothko – or check them out from the library – just like the poet interested in the spiritual angst of the mechanized age will read Eliot; the novelist concerned with the interwoven nature of personal and cultural history will read Faulkner.
The goal is to gather insights, to learn about both what these artists were thinking and also how they transformed those thoughts into works of art.
To illustrate this idea, you might try a simple exercise. If you are the poet, you’ll do it this way:
Write a poem.
Now pull out a book of poems by a published writer.
Compare your first line to his/her first line.
Compare the rest of the two poems.
You can see that this process isn’t about inspiration. It’s about learning. It’s about seeing your own poetry in relation to a larger world of poetry.
If you are a painter or a photographer, then you will adjust the exercise to fit your needs. Step one will be “stand up” instead of “sit down”.
And when you are ready to compare your work to someone else’s, you won’t need to look in a book. You can take your work to a gallery and compare it there to live works. In the Antelope Valley we have several venues for this part of the exercise (listed below) and they are all free.
In the end, if you are creating works of art and you want to be understood – or if you want to be the genius – make sure you keep the “co” in communication, get into the dialogue of art. Otherwise, like the fist man to say “rock”, you’ll just be “mmunicating”, people will look at you funny and no one will have any idea what you’re talking about.
Free Local Culture: Art on Display
Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery – Tuesday through Saturday: 11 am. -4 pm.
Cedar Centre Art Gallery – Saturday and Sunday: Noon – 4 pm.
Antelope Valley College Art Gallery – Monday through Thursday: 9 am -9 pm., Fridays: 11 am -4 pm.
Lakes & Valleys Art Guild and Art Center – Saturday and Sunday: Noon -4 pm
Sagebrush Café Coffee & Art House – Monday through Friday 6:30 am –8, Saturday 8-8, and Sunday 8-3
(See More: here)