Of Great Art and Boat Anchors

What exactly defines great art? what sets apart the average from the
extraordinary? After all, aren’t we all using the same materials and by and large,
the same techniques? There are hundreds of different kinds of papers, pencils,
pens, paintbrushes, canvases, oils, inks, cameras, chisels, and hammers. And
there are a hundred different brands for each kind on top of that. And when
Digital Art comes into the picture, that opens up a whole new avenue of
discussion. The combinations of materials coupled with the sheer limitless
volume of techniques means that no matter what, no two works will ever be alike
– as no two artists and their definitions of art either.
If you were to set down a hundred people, trained or untrained, professional or
armature give them all the materials and an example of a painting, say Starry
Night. You would get a hundred more starry paintings, but rest assured, no two of
them would ever look the same as the original. Each would be slightly different,
if not ever so slightly, then most certainly a divergence from the original and
into the boldly different and extraordinary. It is often better to break from the
norm and try something new after all, to dabble and experiment with things,
seeing if anything catches your attention.
Every painter has their own stroke, their own mixes, their own ideas of what
works and what doesn’t. Every photographer knows what he or she likes, what
angles work the best for their camera, what lighting is ideal for their
subjects, and with out a doubt, which cameras work for them and which they think
would much rather make a good boat anchor instead. And no, they aren’t trying to
take any underwater photos. When you add in film or digital, that brings up a
whole new debate and another series of questions.
Regardless of what medium you use or work with, each of us will have their own
style – and that is a good thing. If each of us didn’t, art would not be art at
all. Art is one of those tricky topics that defies subjective titles and
definitions, one that is what we make of it. To one person, “art” might be fifty
foot tall, metal sculptures weighing in this side of a battle tank – while those
same sculptures to another person would again, make good boat anchors.
And it is true, most anything can be turned into art, proving that you can find
beauty just about anywhere. Piles of what some would call garbage might be just
what someone else is looking for to use on their next metal sculpture.
Some of us find ourselves most pleased with pens and pencils, sketching and
illustrating our thoughts on paper. Some of us are more at home with chisels and
picks in our hands, carving out what they see in their minds or bringing their
creations to life with clays and putties. Paints and brushes fit others, filling
up their canvas and breathing life into their creations through their own
outlet. However you choose to open up your creative side, let the drain open and
run free. That is something you’ll be able to do when you pick up the right tool
and feel the energy flow through it, you’ll know it when you’ve found it. It may
take a few times – maybe a whole life time – but you’ll know it.
There are just a few things to remember when you’re about to go out on one of
the limbs of art, off to explore another branch and see what you can do and what
you can create. You should always do what you think you should in art, it is
what you make of it. And if you just so happen to like metal sculptures, then by
all means go for it – I know there are a ton of people out there just waiting to
see your work, you just have to find them and show them. Not all of
those sculptures are anchors after all. And while it’s a great idea to draw inspiration from others, you still always should put your own spin on things, never out-and-out
taking their work for your own. Go out and be original, experiment and try things. But most importantly, put your heart into your work and you will surely be rewarded. After all, that is how you get great art, when you put your heart and soul into your work – your passion will surely show.
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