What is art? Whether in the form of a novel, movie,
painting or other, art gives the audience a sublime or profoundly
beautiful experience. An audience can be one person and it can
be one million. Beauty and sublime cannot be translated into
simple words, so I don't attempt to do that here. Profound beauty
and sublimeness is experienced, not explained.
If a work doesn't produce a sublime or profoundly beautiful
reaction in someone, it isn't art.
Art is experienced personally. It is an inner world thing.
If you watch a movie with a crowd and don't tell anyone that
you loved it, no one will ever know.
The audience is in a heightened state when experiencing art.
Art plays on your personal biases, tastes, temperament, secret
world, experience and education. There are widely shared tastes,
but it is incorrect to objectify art. That an artistic bias is
widely held doesn't make it unbiased.
Even though two people may both see a particular work as art,
they may consider it art for vastly different reasons. They may
both view it differently than the artist.
People's interpretation of a work of art is much based on
their personal experiences. People are most deeply affected by
novel or movie charectors who resemble, if only in some way,
the person. Charectors who have the same secret feelings or secret
Art involves a deep psychological reaction in the audience.
It is this deep and often subliminal reaction that can't be put
into simple words or explained to others.
Much of our reaction to music, sounds and visuals is rooted
in our biology. Our reactions to delicate higher notes, versus
sudden booming deep notes, is natural. Parallels can be made
to our reaction to similar sounds in the wilderness-- delicate
notes of a bird in the sky versus a sudden booming deep roar
of a grizzly bear.
Art involves a structure that is intended to produce the artistic
experience. The work is like a candle base and wick and the artistic
experience is the flame. The wax and wick is not the flame (the
flame being the whole point the candle), but is required to create
and sustain the flame.
If the sublime experience is removed, many works appear stupid
and silly. Without the flame, a candle is just a pointless and
silly looking stick of wax. Many works of art involve strange
gymnastics and odd mannerisms to produce the desired effect.
The artistic structure (the proverbial candle wax base and
wick) does not have to be logical or rational. Much art involves
impossible juxtapositions and illogical plot lines.
Art requires mystery. Too much candor and things-spelled out
kills the magic.
Even if its story takes place in an ordinary place, great
art takes the audience to an extraodinary world. This can be
a secret world inside you or an external place you've never before
been to. By world I don't mean a physical place. The meaning
and unearthly geography of art is felt, not located on a gas
The greatest art can give the individual a profound new insight
on things or view of a new world that is not translatable to
words or numbers. In this way, art can be philosophical.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cyclback.com
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