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On Art (I) - The True Vs. The Artificial Artist
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On Art (I) - The True Vs. The Artificial Artist
This is the first of a collection in the making on my views about art. Although this is the first, introductory essay, it was actually written second (shrug!). Hopefully a third, art Vs. Science, should be coming soon.
[1,373 words]
To describe oneself can be the hardest operation in writing. To depict one's thoughts, feelings, rationales through writing is often done; but to express one's inner being, to profile oneself, is far more complex a procedure. Very often, such information is most accurate and profound when gleaned from the author's writings. If you wish to analyse me, my friends, you are most welcome.
[February 2000]
Intolerance (Essays) This is an essay about intolerance, prejudice, and other mad things which should not exist in society but imevitably do. This is because of human nature. While I am a fiction writer usually, this es... [1,525 words]
On Art (II) - The Response Of The True And Artificial Artists To Inspiration (Essays) The second of my essays on art. Hopefully On Art (III) - Art Vs. Science will be up soon. [1,058 words]
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The Unbinding Of Loki (Short Stories) This is a story based loosely upon Norse mythology, in which I have a deep interest. It revolves around a sort of imagined "sequel" to the story of the binding of Loki, the mischievous half-brother o... [1,258 words]
On Art (I) - The True Vs. The Artificial Artist

The True Versus the Artificial Artist

  In our own way, we are all artists in humanity. Each of us sees the world and seeks to interpret it, to form and shape it to out own preconceptions, perhaps, or to use it to reshape those schemata as the new material floods into memories. In simple terms, someone who sees this new material and uses it as fresh, as a way of developing their own worldview, is a true artist; she is inspired by the experience or sight or sound, and she uses it to formulate new thoughts, new mental schemas – what is this creative process if not cognitive art?
  The alternative is thus obvious: the artificial artist, restricted and immovable as she is, seeks not to be creative through devising new conceptions from fresh experience, but determines to be incorporative, moulding these new events to her pre-existing worldview. This analogy is emblematic in a wider sense of these two opposites’ process of art; or, more likely, the latter is in fact symbolic of the wider view. Thus is characterised in ecological terms the creative – or otherwise – processes of the true and artificial artists.
  It would be advantageous at this point to attempt to define the concept of “art” as it applies to the context of this essay. Art is a concept; it is not objective, consistent, conforming or, necessarily, even tangible. Art is, simply, creation; thus it could be logically argued that everything is art, since everything, by the fact of its very existence, must at some point have been created, whether by nature, God or man. It is necessary however to separate two classes of art just as it is to separate two classes of artist. It would be far too simplistic to say that artificial art is always the product of an artificial artist, and likewise true art is always the creation of a true artist. There are circumstances and situations where the opposite may be true; for these classifications are a trend, not a constant. However, I would ask you to consider the following example: is a dishwasher, carefully planned, constructed and marketed by companies, businessmen and advertisers – is such a construct to be considered “art”? Conversely, can we claim that Gèricault’s “Scene of A Shipwreck”, a painting of a moment from the events of the wreck of the Medusa, is anything other than art, taken to its finest and most refined stage? Those who have so far accepted this argument will agree that the former is a prime example of artificial art, artificially developed for a definable market while the latter, simply, is true art, created as a result of inspiration, transcending the banal and documentational accuracy which would undermine its profound depth of feeling.
  Thus we have established reasonable well the distinction between true and artificial art. Armed with this argument, it should not be difficult to illustrate the therefore necessary differences between the two types of artist implicated by the argument.
  In simple defining terms an “artificial” artist is one who has no core of inspiration or creativity in her soul. She may develop and produce an item which is, technically, a perfect piece of “art”. Art however cannot be “technically” correct, by its very nature. Otherwise, it would be science – and very few fields or people have attempted to juxtapose these disparate concepts completely. Psychology and psychologists are of the limited range of examples. In some institutions, psychology is a science; in others, an art. Where is the distinction clear? Are some perspectives in psychology – the cognitive approach, in which the human brain is likened to a computer, for example: is this science, whereas another approach – such as Freudian psychoanalysis, with its assumptions and philosophy – art?
  Art, very simply, is not science. The artificial artist cannot be passed off easily, therefore, as a “scientist” (see lecture three on art versus science). No, she is far from that. While a scientist is driven, like the true artist (though not to create, but to invent, or discover) an artificial artist has no individual motivation of her own. She could perhaps also be considered an “instructed” artist in that she produces not for her own sake, but for the sake of a market.
  A true artist is essentially the opposite. She cares not for commercialism, for business; she is largely unconcerned as to whether the books she writes, pictures she paints, statues she sculpts, are read or seen by large numbers of goggling people, thus bringing in a considerable amount of money. In the initial inspiration, she is not thinking of this; the end result is for her, she creates it because she has to create it; there is no other option available. If creation does not take place, the true artist is left frustrated, stressed, agonised until the process is begun. Admittedly, she may desire that the end result tells a story, makes a cutting political point, a satire on the nature of humanity. Whatever we, the observer, the audience for the work, perceive to be its purpose or function is not necessarily what the artist had in mind at the outset of creation. True art is often blind; the artist is not aware of what she is creating until it is complete, and then will appreciate her work in a similar way to others who were not involved in creation. But the artificial artist, ever prepared, will have a detailed plan at the beginning, and the end product will doubtless look very like that original blueprint. True art grows and changes, breathing with a life of its own. Artificial art is controlled, contained, stifled; kept always within the scope of the developer, never allowed to dictate its own nature, unlike true art, which often seems to paint, or write, or sculpt itself.
  Would it be enough, then, to look at the motivations of the true and artificial artists and say that the former is governed by inspiration and a need to create, and the latter by opportunity, i.e. a gap in the market? No, this is not sufficient. An artificial artist may be motivated by any number of goals, which are not necessarily financial. She may be, for example, a student unwillingly writing poem to please a tutor. She may be asked to paint a portrait of a family member; this would be artificial art, though paintings quite rarely are. She may be a professor of history writing a study guide for her students. All these and a hundred others could be the motivation behind the production of artificial art; the artist could have a thousand different reasons. The true artist has only one: creation.
  Do not be deceived into believing that the true and artificial artists are mutually exclusive. You can be one, or the other, or neither. Many gifted people – for even the artificial artist is profoundly gifted, in her own way – are both. If this seems unlikely, allow a brief illustration. A brilliant writer of novels is hit by a wonderful inspiration, and produces true art through an exhausting process of creation. She is a true artist. The novel is successful, and public demands, as well as those of her financial situation, necessitate a sequel. In order to meet these requirements the sequel is thus produced; however, it is produced to meet a market, to gain external reward as opposed to the internal gratification which results from the creation of true art. This new novel may be technically excellent, but it will not contain the depth and volume of emotion and feeling which was present in the original. It will be a mechanical construct, designed for no other reason than to meet a market. People will read it and probably appreciate it; but it will take no great skill of perception to realise that there is something lacking in the work.
  Thus is drawn the distinction between the artists. The true artist, it can be said, is spurred on and rewarded by the internal, the innermost being, the soul. True art is spiritual. Artificial art, conversely, is material, inspired and rewarded externally. An illustration, perhaps, of Keats’ belief that “beauty is truth, truth beauty”.



"An interesting, if flawed peice of work. What exactly is your argument, and why is the reader assumed female? There seems little purpose in postulating arts definition within the context of the self - this is not a liberty a critic can take as art can be divided into heirachy (an artist's superiority achieved by higher intellect) and society, i.e that of the artist, not that of the present day. D- Please try harder next time." -- barry norman.
"This is just a collection of thoughts about creativity. I was extremely bored in a history class, if I remember, some considerable time ago, and jotted this stuff down. Sorry it doesn't meet with your approval." -- Author.
"What makes you think I assumed that the reader was female? If I remember, I alternated between 'he' and 'she' because writing s/he etc looks very sad. Political correctness should never be taken to ridiculous extremes in my opinion. " -- author.


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© 1999 Erik
April 2000

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