This monthly essay is becoming a habit I value so highly. I hope you’re loving them, too!
December 2019 featured:
- Daniel Charon, Choreographer (December 2, Ep. 37)
- Rebecca Jensen, Illustrator (December 10, Ep. 38)
- Ryan Nielsen, Jazz Trumpet Player (December 17, Ep. 39)
My guests had some striking new insights in to my ever-evolving Art vs. Artifice question.
Daniel reflected on the idea that perhaps “people who’ve seen my choreography know me better than those who haven’t.” This is such an arresting thought to me. Again and again, I’ve tried to explain that my Artifice question doesn’t at all come from the idea that artists are outputting something “artificial.” Rather, that there’s something ephemeral about art that inherently permits some discrepancy between art and artist (and/or artist and audience..and/or art and audience).
I definitely want to add Daniel’s thought to my list of ways this can happen. Does Daniel’s art communicate something essential about himself that can only be understood in the beholding of his pieces? What does this mean about who Daniel is? If it’s possible that the art contains some facet of Daniel that presents in no other way, can we really say that it’s a reflection of the artist? What is reflecting on what? Ugh. What a gorgeous puzzle.
Rebecca brought up an AMAZING concept, new to me. The Death of the Author! Basically, the theory is that once art is created, the author’s [artist’s] intentions cease altogether to matter. From this perspective, any attempt to match art to artist retroactively is automatically somewhat artificial? Right?!?! I love this idea. My brain is completely tickled by the notion that art exists completely separately from the artist, without reference in any direction. I don’t know that I agree—I LOVE to consider the artist when considering art—but I can absolutely see the merit of this philosophy. And I do absolutely believe that anyone’s unique interpretation of my art is as valid as my own (as long as their interpretation doesn’t assume anything about me…I think???). What do you think? I want to talk about this forever.
Ryan closed out Artifice Season 1 with some beautiful insights. My favorite quote: “Art creates bridges to the places inside us we didn’t know were there.” BAH! I think there are probably a million ways to interpret or discuss this idea, but for the Artifice question…my first thought is that if the making of (participating in, witnessing of, etc.) art is a bridge to the unknown, any sort of direct correlation to a fixed idea of “the artist” is certainly subject to flimsiness. I am so taken with the idea that art is movement. Like I said before, it’s ephemeral! It’s always moving and changing—as are we as artists, as people. By that line of thinking, it stands to reason that any connection between art and artist is artificial either before, during, or after its creation…Or maybe all three!
Seriously. I want to know what you think! Can art have fixed or permanent meaning? Can an artist project meaning on to his art? Can art reflect truths about its creator? Can an audience know an artist by consuming her work? What. Do. You. Think? I’m dying to know.
January 2020 is Dallas month! Keep eyes and ears out for my conversations with some amazing Texas artists.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!