The fall of Icarus, not always thought of as serene. If you have a keen eye, the same applies to all art. For centuries there has been discord over the two simple, yet fundamental arguments; ‘what defines art?’ and ‘what makes good art?’ We all have different opinions; it’s only natural on a topic so varied.
I remember a great writer once telling me this via email; ‘art is only good if it produces an emotional response,’ – Jeff Clark-Meads. Wonderful words of wisdom, ones I took to heart as I began my own career.
It turns out, that creating the perfect piece of art it is not so simple like the perfect gourmet meal; a splash of aesthetic sauce, a dash of intelligence behind your words, and a generous peppering of the perfect craftsmanship. The final ingredient I’ve discovered to my own misfortune many-a-time. It takes a very long time to perfect naturally.
Each of these three elements are mandatory to the perfect art, like a healthy diet, if you keep it balanced you create the perfect life, at least where your health is concerned, so why not do the same for your art?
But again, here I am talking about the perfect art; I’ve jumped the gun again! What justifies itself as art? I could give you a million things that are art or otherwise, that would be a waste of my time and yours.
When conferencing with two very skilled scholars today I discovered ‘art’’ had more connotations than I ever dared dream; and might I add that’s pretty deep! The first gave me wonderful advice that only the truest piece of good advice I would never have thought of, one that will reflect in my future work if I’m lucky.
She told me ‘ Joseph, there are three things that make ‘perfect art’ and art is not art without them’ and she went on to explain the three key ingredients to me, I was so blown away I even had to ask to be explained without the big words, a first I might add.
The second, seasoned by the experience and more knowledge than I could ever contain explained that though these principles are important, art comes in more than just a written form, it is reflected by other forms of art. This I admit confused me for several hours. But finally I deduced that all forms of art, visual, audio even literary rely on one another purely fro existence, the purest symbiotic thing in existence.
A Brief History On second thought, do they exist so harmoniously? Over the centuries particularly during the renascence we see the written word almost eclipsed my visual art, i.e. paintings, drawings, and so forth. If those few veterans of the written word had given in, I’d not be here to express my view now, to them, though long dead, I pledge my thanks.
Shakespeare, where would we be toady without dear Will? The answer; crawling upon the face of the earth barely managing hello, our world leaders only half as smooth in their greased up talks, maybe not all good things come from great men then…
But still it was he who brought back the written word to its height of glory, so powerful were his words, that they are still used and taught today.
Art forms have been in a struggle for power since they were first created, in my opinion as cave drawings. Since then they have been crying out to survive scared to be sniffed out, like each of us without our lives.
Art to Me
Whole heartedly I agree with my lecturers, the three components, Aestheticism, intelligence and craftsmanship are the basic life breath and heartbeat to art.
To apply it to what I know best; poetry:
Blind emotion will never prove It’s fullest effect
• Any art form must be carefully seasoned, i.e. it needs a balance of emotion, intelligence and to be streamlined, much like a car.
• All art, no matter what, is created for a purpose, anyone who says different is full of ----
Though now we talk of applying intelligence, should we turn it in to a maze?
No of course not!
When this though springs up on me, as it has done several times today, I picture a rose, and how I can not for the life of me draw one. It is far too intricate, but it is nonetheless beautiful, which is an unquestionable fact by anyone.
Painting takes layers of paint, not only one and it is complete for the gallery, writing a novel or a poem can take up to 100 redrafts and rewrites, as some people, including myself could tell you.
In the famous words of T.S Elliot – ‘there will be time for a hundred visions and revisions,’ true words, both intelligent and beautiful.
Other Poets That Have Awed Me
Seamus Heaney, of course his recollections of the years and his vivid ideas on many topics show intelligence boldly and elegant craftsmanship.
Sylvia Plath, My favourite poet, and has been for some time now, her works such as ‘Words’, ‘Lady Lazarus’ and ‘Cut’ never pass me by without a moment of wonder.
Emily Dickinson, She was a highly interesting influence to my work, combining all three elements in to a ballad meter, gave her elegance, the intelligence flowed as naturally as her emotion sparking words, which I soaked up with the bread of my soul.
And finally, one I was reacquainted with today, W.H Auden, after many years this bad boy steps in, with The Fall of Icarus, and formed the solid basis of my first article; the poem, though not the only one, based on a picture.
A Quick summary
Finally let me wrap this up, you’ve been a great reader for surviving my long rant, and at the very least I hope you have gained something from all this.
I’ve been writing for over a decade now, and already from writing this I feel a new enrichment that I hope will reflect in my future work, Art is what you make of it, but it is only art if it is perfect. Art is good, if you can incorporate everything, as if it’s a meal you never wish to forget.
So, there it is: art on a plate!
I hope to see you all very soon.