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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Blurred Vision of the Artist

I watched a documentary about the Hubble Space Telescope and the repairs done several years ago to its vast lenses. One of the things they mentioned was that the lenses were scarred up and Hubble could not see as clearly into space as scientists wished. Yet, even with this blurry vision Hubble could still see further into space than any telescope before had ever done.

That is sometimes how artistic vision feels. When our lenses are clear the artist can see from here to eternity. We can conceive of amazing ideas for our work and see them clearly from start to finish.

But some lenses get blurred. We can see the start of a project but are not exactly sure if we can see the work of art to its conclusion. Where is it going? Its frustrating to the extreme when that voice in our head says "you can do this! You've done it before!". But then that other voice says "you'll mess it up. You can't see what your doing and your blind to the outcome of the piece you want to make so don't start it."

Some of us give in to this second voice and concede that we just cannot see enough of the pattern to make a whole out of it. 

I have been accused of conceiving art that is so ridiculously complex that I cannot possibly define it, see its end or make it real. I guess I do this on purpose. I want the art to challenge me to the absolute limits of my abilities. Surprisingly I find that I can usually pull it off. The pattern becomes whole as I move through it and my skills match the pattern even when I think they won't.

After so many years as an artist, I am convinced that we do actually know the complete pattern even if we can't consciously see it. Its the fear of starting blindly that stops us.

But like Hubble, we can still see much further than we might give ourselves credit for.

It may be that this clouded vision is beneficial to us. The artist that paints only half a man is heralded as a genius while the artist that paints perfect reality may become ho hum. Blurred and fractured vision may reveal things we never knew were existed.

It is often the case that once I get started on a very complex piece the answers find themselves. The pattern completes itself as its being created. When they don't, by simply setting the piece aside for awhile I inevitably pick it up again when my vision clears. Nothing is ever set aside for good because I could not make it work. 

In the end it takes a leap of faith to begin a project of which we can see no end. But that should not stop us.

Assimilation Art teaches us that there really is no end. Only level upon level of evolution. The end is imposed because we create that end. But like reality, nothing is ever really finished or really at an end.

I once spoke to a wannabe artist who said he had the desire to be an artist, but he was too anal to ever finish anything because it would never meet up with his expectations. So he never even began and he never became an artist.

But nothing really ever gets started until we take the plunge and begin it. Being afraid that our skills won't meet with our ideas is just a myth. As they say, its never about the destination. Its always about the journey. 


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