Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dreams Light a Fire Beneath us – Reality Grounds us

Exercising imagination is critical to the artist’s life. Whether you write, perform, paint or draw, working from research and knowledge is not enough. An artist must interpret, design, and create. An artist’s work must represent his unique perspective on the world.

Artists need buyers, teachers, supporters, lovers, friends, and constant inspiration for their work. Knowing who you are and what you think about issues is critical. Having opinions and knowing why you have them brings clarity and purpose to your work. Everything an artist sees, hears, and learns becomes a stepping stone that leads to creation.

In order to grow, we must have our feet grounded in reality. We must make logical and conscious decisions every day concerning our finances, our basic needs, and the people we interact with. Constantly flowing between a living reality and a fantasy land or a dream world of our own making definitely poses problems.

"Raccoons at Sunrise"

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in creative mode, my friends and loved ones may literally have to drag me away. They may have to repeat themselves often as I escape into la la land. I may seem moody and aloof at times. I may appear distant and detached from their needs and wants.

Finding a balance between these two worlds is critical to an artist’s survival. Supportive people who share our dreams, or at least understand them, can make all the difference. Knowing us, caring about us requires effort, patience, and maturity.

The artist must also learn to compartmentalize his life in order to find balance between the realities of the here and now, and the need to make a living; between living within your means, and recognizing that others have important needs, too.

“No man is an island,” said John Donne (1572-1631). Writing a series of devotionals for Christians, he spoke about a bell that rings not only to call the preacher to come, but the congregation. The importance of Donne’s concept is also expressed in other religions, particularly Buddhism.

“…No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

"Sand Crane Dreams" 
And it tolls for me. It tolls for you. We’re all involved with mankind. As artists our greatest joy is in giving back to humanity, to the world we love, our personal take and interpretation of it.