The Power of The Artist


Have you ever thought about how powerful, or influential artists are? Maybe it is a bit of self-flattery on my part to think this, but I think artists are among the most influential people – more than judges, lawgivers, even kings. It is the artist who commands forms of orderliness and beauty that direct our lives, values and actions, though often on a subliminal level.

Beauty, and Art, can be a law above laws. Beauty calls to everyone, in every circumstance, tribe and nation. Art informs us on values and expectations, and beauty pulls us without any threats as law does. There may be no higher “law” than  beauty in the hearts of humankind. Beauty simply calls to the soul for us to reflect its order.

The Artist (authors, film makers, architects, painters, musicians, dancers, designers, photographers, poets, etc.) therefor commands great power. This is a subtle power that even kings may not know they are under. The artist might not even know the power they have, or the responsibility they carry. Even a simple story, or image can communicate what is good and what is evil.

This power can be misused, and abused. Take Architects, for example – they can make people feel like worms or tell them where it is appropriate to linger, speak, or be hush. They can tell you with hidden vocabularies what your status and place in society is. Fashion (or clothing) designers also hold this power, to communicate with hidden terms what job we hold, and who we are to obey or serve. The advert designer can tell us what we like, and what to buy to find our way in society. The chef can cook up delights to make us eat even when we are well fed, and make us eat things we know are bad for us. A musician and a dancer can bend you about so much that you cry in sorrow or leap with delight. I’m inclined to say they very nearly all have magic that they cast upon heart, mind, and soul.

The doctor seeks to heal, the officer seeks to maintain, but the artist – the artist can call the soul of a society, to virtue and to folly, into order or into ruin. Though, the common man may say, “being an artist is a lowly, risky and worthless practice” – but even the common man’s words are a kind of art, a powerful spell, that can sterilize creativity, cursing the artist with normality.

Cling to beauty if you see it! Speak it, sing it, share it! We are all in desperate need of it. A life without beauty is violence.

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What Makes an Artist?

BirdCrane

I’ve been re-examining the convictions that made me become an artist. Being an artist is risky. It was hard to know if my craft would be accepted or appreciated. I wasn’t sure if I had the skill to pull it off, and I didn’t know if anyone would understand what I was trying to say through my work. Would it be something I could support myself with financially? The work called to me though; it seemed more important than what was being risked.

I hear that without struggle there can be no creativity [even in biology and evolution]. To continue one must think the content of one’s work is more important than its “success.” Sometimes it seems like art makes risk/struggle while risk and struggle function as a springboard for art. Perhaps my struggles make me into an artist, and my art makes me struggle.

What are some of the root struggles I’ve had?

  • I’ve struggled with a “learning disability” (that makes me a slow reader and a bad speller).
  • I’ve struggled with many sleepless nights, even now, sometimes waking in the night struggling over a religious, ethical, or political question. I can’t help but to often look into the cosmic abyss.
  • I’ve struggled for acceptance from my family, church and peers. Philosophical differences have often made for conflict – and a deep feeling of being an outsider, often feeling like an alien or a foreigner.
  • I’ve struggled with the pervasive materialism that surrounds me, to be a conscientious person of character. I’ve struggled to be a person concerned with the individuals around me and their virtue and goodness.

Often people think of inspirations, or a sense of compulsion, as the roots of what makes an artist, but for me, conflict and struggle [internal and external] seem to be the egg from which I hatch. Life is a struggle, but that does not mean it is bad. Each work I make may have some inspirations, or even logic, but the fact that I’m an artist seems mostly to derive from a desire to set things right, and to aim high rather than low.

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What is creativity?

Self_Portrait

Sometimes being a creative person feels like a descent into a kind of madness. At least for a creative like myself.

I even find myself wondering, “What is creativity?” I wonder if creativity has the value that I think it has – as a central part of a good life. Is the life of an artist (like myself) good or have I been brainwashed into a coarse of life that is damaging to myself and others?

So, what is creativity?

I may not be able to say what it is exactly but I can reflect over various ways it has been formulated:

  • Problem solving (a skill) – Inventiveness or cleverness, for overcoming challenges.
  • To have imagination – the capacity to see possibilities (or create possibilities).
  • A process of self-discovery, self-revelation or self-invention.
  • A capacity to communicate ideas from one’s imagination.
  • An ability to make things beautiful, or make beautiful things.
  • The capacity to create novelty (something new).

All these things might be facets, bolted to the core convergence of what creativity is. Whatever it may be, I often think it is heightened when we think of creativity as a form of sharing, born of courage and love. So much of what we create is an outpouring of generosity. The most beautiful things we can’t help but share – perhaps we need each other to fully experience those things – to verify its beauty and validity beyond our own minds. But, what is beauty?

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Upcoming Exhibits

It looks like I’ll be in two upcoming exhibits, one at Artomatic: http://2015.artomatic.org/

And one at Convergence with my wife Gwyneth! http://ourconvergence.org/

Mark your calendar for 7-9pm Nov 13th for our duo show: “He was, I am.”

IPS(detail)I’ll post some more details as things come together.

Regards,
Matt

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Seven Days Remaining on Kickstarter

The final week of our crowdfunding is upon us! With 125 backers we have about 80% of our funding goal! Take a look at our game and see if you would like to support us:

>>> http://kck.st/1BweUxN <<<

gifshot18

That is right, this is a game with some really funky physics. And yes that is a frog…

The game is a bit of an indie mash-up with similarities to Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, Braid, fez and other indie titles. Many of the puzzles in the game are created by a “line of gravitational change” – that runs through the middle of each map (as seen above).  This means that often the player has to play upside-down at times, and use this feature of the word to their advantage. The story in the game is a little like Where the Wild Things Are – meets The Wizard of Oz. All together it makes for an interesting, dynamic world – also containing many of my ink drawing😉

We will be selling this game through the Steam Network once it is completed – we already have the green light! http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=242150714

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A peak at Merchandise

For those of you who might not know, the video game project I’m working on (The Land of Eyas) has returned to Kickstarter:

http://kck.st/1BweUxN

This might be one of the only times that you can get some of the game merchandise. For example this game box/disk/manual:

boxonlyThe box is cool because it has work from all our artists represented on it: Trung, Mac Stephen and I.

Or this shirt:
shirt
I have some other interesting thoughts to post later this week/month, including my “what I’ve learn in the past year” – for last year. Life has been kinda crazy recently, so I haven’t had much time to share.

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The Land of Eyas is a World Where Art and Gaming Collide

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on What's Your Tag?:
We had a chance to check out a pre-Alpha build of The Land of Eyas, courtesy of developer Happy Square Productions. After several hours of slobbering over the fantastic art style, solving gravity-based…

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