Consciousness is the ability to exchange a vast amount of ideas. These ideas can be externally or internally challenged. They are concepts that grow and change and bloom or fizzle away to allow new ones to take their place. In some instances, consciousness can separate the individual from things around them and in other instances, consciousness brings connection. It’s this constant exchange that is consciousness and it is this exchange that is also art.
How can consciousness separate an individual?
Consciousness can separate an individual from others in many ways. One main way it can separate them socially is if one person sees ideas or concepts in a different way than the majority.
How can it connect individuals?
Consciousness can also connect an individual to things around them. It connects us when we have similar feelings, whether towards each other or toward a specific outcome. Two people who have similar exchange of ideas feel strongly connected and may even call each other soulmates. In another way, many people claim they feel a stronger connection to a group when they are all fighting toward the same cause even if they are all fighting for different reasons. Having similar desires for a specific outcome makes for stronger emotions toward exchanging ideas.
As artists, when we become aware of our own natural exchange of ideas, we analyze what is not in line with the majority, and ask why. Or we just analyze what we want without the hindrance of popular expectations. These two acts are the consciousness. They are the art.
Art isn’t the paint, or the brush strokes, or perfect grammar. Art is giving our inner thoughts to the outer world so they can then use them to nurture their own consciousness.
Paul Gauguin was a painter who was praised as the leader of the symbolist artists in 1891. This style of painting was inspired by the symbolist writers of the time. In a letter to symbolist poet, critic, and editor of litarary journals Charles Morice, Gauguin says,
…[ There are] two kinds of beauty: one that results from instinct and another which would come from studying. The combination of the two, with its necessary modifications, produces certainly a great and very complicated richness, which the art critic must devote himself to discover….
Art has just gone through a long period of aberration caused by physics, chemistry, mechanics and the study of nature. Artists having lost all their savagery, having lost no more instincts, one could even say imagination, went astray on every path, looking for productive elements which they did not have enough strength to create. Consequently, they act only as a disorderly crowd, they feel frightened like lost ones when they are alone. That is why solitude must not be advised for everyone, since one must have strength to be able to bear it and act alone.
There’s a lot more in this letter than Gauguin’s thoughts on solitude. An artist must learn to art alone. It is in solitude where thoughts come and go freely without the harsh priority of daily chores. When an artist learns to be alone, they gain control of their environment. Like baby turtles they must learn to get from the nest to the ocean without getting lost or snatched up on the way. This requires some instinct and once alone, it requires study. There is an art in arting alone. There is a space where artists must meet themselves and say ok we’re in this together and I’m not leaving you here to drown. It does take a faith in yourself and a great faith in your art.
According to Theories of Modern Art by Herschel B. Chipp, Gauguin thought of himself as “a savage beyond the taint of civilization.” He escaped European civilization and fled to Polynesia where he spent his life painting. All while being pressured by his family to return to business. He painted alone so alone in fact that he did not even have the support of his own wife and family Until. The. Day. He. Died.
He’s right when he says solitude requires strength. I do, however, believe that solitude should be for everyone.
According to Mutualart.com, “Jan Toorop was a Dutch visual artist who was born in 1858. He has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the Rijksmuseum. Many works by the artist have been sold at auction, including ‘Portret van mevrouw M.J. de Lange — Portrait of Mrs M.J. de Lange’ sold at Christie’s Amsterdam ‘TWENTIETH CENTURY ART INCLUDING BELGIAN ART’ in 2005 for $964,318.
“Paul Cézanne was a post-impressionist painter born January 19th 1839 in France…..He felt that an artist should see nature in a way that no one has seen it before. That they must make a vision for themselves. Not in an extremely cryptic way, but by being fully conscious of their own sensations.”
If you’re feeling like the world is getting to you, like you just can’t get a break, make some art. You will still hurt. You will still be soft but every time you share your guts, one more person will be less alone. But don’t do it for the others no, do it because this is the most important thing on your list.
There’s going to be a million people who tell you how to live, how to spend your money, when to laugh, but…Read More
This picture was created to celebrate 100 years since the French revolution. I find myself fascinated by his ability to capture these raw moments in life. This particular picture uses earth tones I think it suggests how close we are to returning to the earth. And how work tends to drive us there much quicker than we are prepared for. The way she holds him it seems as if he’s someone close to her heart. Oh, how I can relate to her emotions here.
Dorthey has to fight the villain inside her. She tries to stay focused on growth and not letting others bring her down. But sometimes she gets down, real down. She wants to drag her enemies to the depths of hell. Introduce them her friend, Death and fill their bellies with the greatest pleasures in life. She wants to leave them stranded and lonely waiting for someone to just. come. and. love. them. The place she was. The way she was. And sometimes she loses control and she stoops. She stoops and she feels like she’s let herself down every time she does. She never wants another human to feel the physical and emotional pain she’s gone through. But she clinches her fists and grits her teeth at times, praying for vengeance from above and below. Then she thinks, you know what, they may never realize the pain they caused. They may never take the time to learn their own soul. Their own magnificent inner being. Now that, is the true heartbreak. And that is when she reels herself back in and remembers that in another life, in another dimension, she made the same mistake. Even if it would have never been in this lifetime. That thought slacks her jaw and releases her shoulders. This is her growth. This is a snapshot inside a human mind attempting to grow from every circumstance. This is her truth.
Donatello was a fifteenth-century Florentine sculpture who helped to establish the increasing naturalism and growing emulation of Classical models that would be central to early Italian Renaissance. According to Volume II Art History, “Donatello’s bronze David was the first life size, free standing nude since antiquity” (Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren 1995).
David stands 5’2 ¼” and was recorded to be in the courtyard of the Medici Palace in 1469. David is shown nude with a sword in his right hand and his foot placed gently over Goliath’s severed head. David doesn’t stand triumphantly over Goliath, but has a calm demeanor and lowered sword. Possibly to show humility and peacefulness. Or a deep reliance on God. It may even be considered by some more of a naivety in his stance. This sculpture is based on the old testament biblical story of a young shepherd boy with no military training who slays an undefeated giant. It is unclear the circumstances as to why this sculpture was created and so it has piqued the interest of many speculators.
We do know, according to Volume II Art History, “David was a potent political image in Florence, a symbol of the citizens’ resolve to oppose tyrants regardless of their superior power, since virtue brings divine support and preternatural strength.” (Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren 1995). When these things, the slaying of a giant, the culture, the story, and how Donatello sculpted the boy’s stance, are brought together it creates a sense that David is gracefully poised between childish naivety and great responsibility. I think Donatello mastered this sculpture paying close attention not only to the things mentioned in the previous sentence but also by adding details to bring the sculpture to life. Like the helmet with the leaves sculpted around it. The ground below his feet is not just a flat surface but looks like rugged ground with a wreath surrounding it. He captured enough to really tell the story and bring us to this event that’s very real according to their history.
This summer I slowed down on a lot of my writing. Worked on the screenplay and some poetry here and there but mostly just backed off and you know what? I realized I have been working my booty off the past two years and not realizing it. And not appreciating my own best efforts. Not in a bragging type of way but in a way that made me realize This Is my best effort. And I feel like the artist Eyck reached through time and confirmed that for me.
Above the portrait painted on the frame which isn’t show here (but you can see it here) the words As I can or “Als Ich Can” written in Greek are painted on the frame. Now there are different ways that line has been interpreted. One is that it is simply a self portrait and he is playing on the pun Ich and his last name Eyck.
Another interesting idea is that as I can is coming from part of a motto that scribes would put at the end manuscripts that they have copied. They would write the entire motto “As I can not as I would.” Or in other words this is the best I can do, I wish I can do better. So he dropped I wish I could do better and just wrote As I can or This is the best I can do.
For some of us artists this is a profound realization. Coming to the place where you accept that you are doing your best work and having the ability to appreciate that. I think that this is a portrait of that moment for him. He found his niche his sweet spot. Makes me wonder if he ever looked at sculptures or mathematicians and thought man I wish I could be more them. But learned to find joy in the talents he excelled in. Oil paints, adding depth, and making sure to add the minute details made his work stand out from the rest even to this day. His works evoke feelings, thoughts, curiosity, and even with me his work confirmed that I need to accept my best efforts for my best efforts.