and I think today I have made a breakthrough in finding the answer to a question that has been bugging me for a very long time.
I’ve been trying to study the “right” and the “wrong” way of making art, to find some guiding principles, something to go by in order to make “good art”.
And at the same time asking myself – those artists that lived in the past and even in ancient civilizations, did they really know some magnificent secrete that we, in modern times, have lost? Why does their art seem serious and whole, while ours, which is more informed, more realistic, lacks that sense of telling a simple, fundamental truth about the world?
For example, one step in my chain of discoveries was that good art involves storytelling. And like any verbal storytelling it has to be selective. It has to be tied to the theme.
But can that be used, like some kind of formula, to create “good art”?
That’s what I question. Surely, yes, it can, to some degree. It can help you debug your novel when it seems to go awry with too many details, for example.
But fundamentally good art comes from the artist’s genuine desire to describe something, and their focus on that thing that they want to describe.
Not their focus on how to impress, not their focus on how to please a critic, but just a focus on the thing they’re expressing.
Ancient Egyptian art lacks realism, but the confidence it has in its style and its devotion to telling its essential story are what make it beautiful. There is sincerity of a mind describing a thought there.
What have we done in modern times? We have replaced that desire with an impersonal aspiration of some kind. We ran away from realism in an attempt to find “individuality”, and then we came back to realism in an attempt to find “excellence”, and neither attempt is really fully successful, isn’t it..
Of course you could make the point that someone with no art training at all would just create a mess, and that is a very good point indeed.
But also, someone with lots of art education and excellent execution can create something stale and formulaic.
To speak beautifully – you need words, and then you need to have an idea that is Your owN.
Art that has no hesitations about the fundamental way it should be done, is possible when the artist has taken the time to learn the tools they need for that execution. And which tool they acquired was dictated by what they wanted to express. And that the tools themselves are a result of a sincere quest for expression.
A self trusting soul is earned and created by the habit of not hiding from its own questions, but trying to answer them, instead.