WEEKLY QUESTION No.2 - A deeper meaning

edited December 2021 in General Discussion

So here is our second Weekly Question:


Does making art have a deeper meaning for you beyond the possibility of earning money and becoming famous? What is that deeper meaning?


Comments

  • I made my living making art. Now I make art for me. No assignments (commissions). Not gallery telling me to do a series (assignments). I paint the immediate world around me. Explore stuff that I never had the time to. And maybe just maybe make enough to pay for supplies.

    Meaning?    Making art just what I do. It's a life's work. Creativity. Imagination. Observation. Craftsmanship. Pride in the mastery of my tools. Curiosity above all. Curiosity in all things. 
    Meaning is found in the natural world around me. The sunrises. The ever flowing Delaware. The constantly changing patterns. The things that remain the same. Why some geometry works best at focusing the eye. Why dropping some red paint on a painting makes it come alive. The unknown.
    Abstractionanwesha
  • edited December 2021
    Even if I had the skill level, I never intend for art to be a source of income for me.  

    Like @KingstonFineArt does now, I paint for me, myself, and I.  Occasionally I make plans to paint something that would also mean something to a friend, as in painting a certain beach or a certain restaurant. 

    The deeper meaning is honestly pretty egotistic also-- to see a beautiful still life or reference photo that thas significance to me, and prove to myself whether I can actually paint it or not.  To see how far my ability goes and what I can do.

    I pick my references based on something that is really really important to me.  My flower painting was because I received those flowers for a very special moment in my life, so I wanted to memorialize the flowers.  Tuscany painting, because, I may never get there and yet a longing was in me to be a part of old stone and flowers.  

    Hope this all makes sense...

    Thank you for the discussion topic, @tassieguy.  

    Edit:  maybe to want to express something that was important in my life is not egotistic at all? Help please?
    tassieguyCsontvary
  • edited December 2021
    I've never put a painting up for sale and only exhibited once because it's the only art show I could find that allowed you to keep your painting. And no desire for fame. I want to share my work but I'm sure like most here it's not ego, it's a desire to communicate something beautiful you felt inside yourself that is... beyond words. Something maybe you can't express in shallow conversations about weather and politics and the lawn needs a trim. This is me:
    If I don't a) do something meaningful that makes a difference to other lives; and b) create something beautiful... I feel my life is unspent possibility. Wasted. Restless. Empty. I will waste hours on stupid games on my phone or other fruitless pursuits.
    I analyse and create and communicate. I create in my work to solve problems and change lives, create trainings that make people feel inspired and see their world differently and ways to act in it. At home i create with wood, with music, writing, with communication like rare public speaking... And with oils.
    (You're still reading this? Seriously? :D )
    I remember coming back from a traumatic experience in Africa. Two things touched me inside and helped restore me. My two 2yo young granddaughters on the couch kissing and hugging me from either side... And art... (music and painting, not mine). I thought, if humans are capable of these things maybe we are worthwhile after all.
    So I find restoration in creating something beautiful, in touching beauty, in expressing... I'm not sure... something above the grimy, the cynical, the shallow, the spin, the sordid and petty, the smallness that's inside all of us... I think I'm subconsciously searching to create something that transcends all this, touches the spirit. Reminds us of something we forgot somewhere that's pure and beautiful.



    allforChristtassieguyRichard_PCsontvary
  • edited December 2021
    Thanks, @KingstonFineArt , @allforChrist and @Abstraction.

    It's interesting that money or fame are not the primary motivating factors for anyone so far. The desire to communicate beauty comes across strongly, as does the idea that art is a way of communicating something important without words. 

    Thanks again folks for the responses.  :)

    PS - Abstraction, I did read it all. And it was a good read. :)
    allforChristAbstractionCsontvary
  • Thanks, @GTO. Yes, there is also the connection art brings to other like minded people. I, too, find that very important.  :)
    allforChrist
  • Without sounding ignorant, I have no educated knowledge about painting at all. I do know that I've always been the creative type, whether I've applied it to music, sport etc.

    Although I'm a beginner and have only been painting for a micro second compared to many other artists, the deeper meaning for me personally... is the feel good factor I get from admiring something I created.. even if it's only me and the cat.
    allforChristtassieguyAbstractionanwesha
  • Thanks, @Nate.

    Yes there is that sense of satisfaction we get when a piece turns out well.  :)
  • Yes it certainly does have a deeper meaning for me, I am not chasing fame. Making money from it, which I have a little over past 2 years I consider to be a bonus.
    I am sure I could make more money from it if I spent a lot of time and effort on marketing and business but that does not attract me at the moment.

    I like to indulge in taking my time in wherever the ebb and flow of creativity takes me. I think to earn serious money I would maybe have to become a bit of a production line artist, and that does not sit right with me.

    As to what is the deeper meaning-I guess, as I was fairly good at art in school (the only subject I was) and wanting to peruse it but couldn’t. I  reconnected with it in my mid 50s and now I am nearly 60 heading for retirement in 5 yrs I feel I have been reunited with a long lost friend who is going to be with me during my twilight years.

    Play is such an important part of life it helps us to learn to grow to solve problems to enjoy life and relax. Of course we do that much more in childhood. I think that being creative in adulthood is to continue with that thread.
    AbstractionArtGalanwesha
  • All great points, @MichaelD, and ones I would make if I were to answer the question.  :)
    MichaelD
  • I've had great satisfaction and pleasure from giving away some of my paintings as surprises to friends or strangers who have inspired me :)
    AbstractionArtGaltassieguyanwesha
  • Thanks, @Richard_P.

    Yes, there's something deeply satisfying about that. I have given paintings to friends and family. Such gifts are really appreciated - much more so  than, say,  a gift card to spend at some department store.  I've never given a painting to a stranger but I imagine it would be wonderful to give a portrait of someone who was important to the receiver.  :)
  • CBGCBG -
    edited December 2021

    Edit:  maybe to want to express something that was important in my life is not egotistic at all? Help please?
    Perhaps egoistic is a better term.  You can only experience life as you, and what can be more important to you that the things you value and cherish in your life?  What is better for truly growing and flourishing and becoming the best person you could and should be?

    I think loving your life and living well not only is good for you, it is life affirming and inspirational to those around you… so no worries at all about pursuing your life and happiness!

    Abstraction
  • We need some degree of egoism to survive. @allforChrist. There's nothing overly egoistic in painting things that are important in your life.   :)
    CBG
  • edited December 2021

    I feel art isn't the easiest route to make money, and so most who have chosen this route are probably in it for other aspects equally important to them. For me, when a work sells gives a huge motivation but it certainly isn't the only motivation.  

    The "deeper meaning" you asked for... i am not sure i've progressed enough to articulate but here it is... its the creation, conjuring  life onto a blank canvas.... putting in the essence of the subject and an imprint of my soul and living through it and spreading through it(i know it sounds hilarious but thats how i feel for every work good or bad). And i don't mean like the propagation of my name through the work, but of an energy/a light something more eternal, nameless, from me to add to yours..
    AbstractionRichard_P
  • i understand what you mean @tassieguy . the amount of time you dedicate to art is a proof of that :)
  • CBG said:

    Edit:  maybe to want to express something that was important in my life is not egotistic at all? Help please?
    Perhaps egoistic is a better term.  You can only experience life as you, and what can be more important to you that the things you value and cherish in your life?  What is better for truly growing and flourishing and becoming the best person you could and should be?

    I think loving your life and living well not only is good for you, it is life affirming and inspirational to those around you… so no worries at all about pursuing your life and happiness!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, @CBG.  Yes, I really just want to express something important to me.  But after all, my handle is @allforChrist :)  I need to make sure I do all things for my Lord.
  • tassieguy said:
    We need some degree of egoism to survive. @allforChrist. There's nothing overly egoistic in painting things that are important in your life.   :)
    Appreciate your note, @tassieguy.  The more I think about it, I agree that painting out an important moment has nothing to do with ego... need to stick close to my handle @allforChrist. :)
  • I simply paint for myself. My paintings have meaning to me that seem to support feeling alive on my inside and keep me interested. Many times it is my subconscious speaking to me, just as it has been for me since the beginning as a child. I most often sense something greater than me is at work and it is indeed a meditation. I must admit that I'm not always present in the moment to get it though, hahaha! But I do come around to waking up to the fact. I do in fact enjoy beauty in my surroundings that my mind and my eyes show me again and again, and I enjoy having a sense of wonder and being supportive of this. I enjoy the challenge in communicating beauty through art. It's like food to me, spiritual nourishment, it feeds my soul with real goodness, and I really die on my inside when this is obstructed or interfered with. Sustenance is a quality that I value a great deal.
     Many of these fine rich qualities are not necessarily valued and supported through making money at it as many of us know.
    Abstractionanwesha
  • Thanks, @Forgiveness. I'm surprised at how few people consider money as an important factor behind why they paint. Yes, fame and fortune are probably very nice, but it seems they are not primary motivating factors. 

    At the end of the week, before I post the next discussion question, I'll write a short summary of peoples thoughts and briefly address the question myself.  :)
    Forgiveness
  • I think from a money standpoint it comes into play in the sense that it would be great to get paid well enough to be able to do what you love fir a living.  Then you would be able to spend more time doing it.  
  • It seems most of us here are older than college age and so perhaps have more experience in life of how hard it can be to make a living from art. You might get more money or fame oriented ideas with college students :)
  • edited December 2021
    Thanks, @GTO and @Richard_P

    Yes, @GTO, fame and fortune might be nice, but I think it would be great just to be able to make a living out of art so one could focus solely on making art and not have to drive an Uber or wait tables to pay the rent and fill the fridge.  :)

    And, yes, @Richard_P, I'm sure college kids have starry eyes about their prospects but I suspect that the youthful hubris fades pretty quickly when the fridge is empty and mom and dad turn off the tap.  If they continue in art in the face of poverty,  it will be for reasons other than money. :)

  • CBGCBG -
    edited December 2021
    Art for me is a very important kind of spiritual (ie pertaining to the mind) sustenance, and hence an important source of flourishing and life.  As such, to me it can be and is crucial to life, and being a person, an individual (rather than a cell, organ, or limb of a mindless over organism, or some plant or animal) art is primarily personal - of and for me.

    Money would be nice.  Fame disgusts me as spiritually promiscuous.  I have close family, loved ones, and friends I admire and value… things can go down from there, and awfully quickly.

    I think one of Art’s greatest potential as spiritual nourishment is its ability to serve as a conduit to mediate or allow communion between the experiencing individual and the experienced reality, between the conscious being which holds and creates meaning in the world and those things in the world for which that meaning has been made.

    So for me, art says something (anything) about the world around me, myself, and the relationships between us, all the possible experiences and meaning that can entail.

    So to create art via a painting why wouldn’t I aim to craft that spiritual food and try to touch that meaning of myself and my world into little spots of color?  The worst that could happen is I fail perhaps partially or entirely, but is not the attempt noble, the chase worth while, the goal of a vision… possible?  I think so.
    anweshaallforChristtassieguyCsontvary
  • edited December 2021
    Yes, @CBG, I agree that a lot of what is important in making art resides in the act of doing it, rather than in whether or not we are successful.  Success might come, but, as far as I can see,  that's not why most of us do it. I agree with you about fame, too. And that flame can flicker out after ten minutes these days.

    Thanks for responding to the question.  :)
    Csontvary
  • Every time I think about starting to sell my artwork, I get this fear that once I do that, the freshness and fulfillment of painting as a hobby might be lost.  So, yes, making art absolutely has a deeper meaning for me - when I started painting I felt like I was coming home after a long journey.  Despite all the challenges and frustrations, the gift of having the time and resources to paint outweighs any fame that may come with it.
  • I agree, @Csontvary. just having the time and resources to paint is a blessing in itself. Making money out of it is irrelevant for most of us.  :)
    joydeschenesCsontvary
  • edited December 2021

    Summary of responses and my own take on the question.

     

    No doubt they would be nice, but fame and fortune don’t seem to be primary motivating factors in the pursuit of art for folks here who have responded to this week’s question. People have mentioned the meaning they find in painting the natural world, in painting things that are important in their lives. They have spoken of the desire to communicate the beauty they see in the world, the idea that the good and the beautiful are related, the feeling that painting adds value to life - value that trivial, fruitless pursuits don’t provide. Some have mentioned the feeling of community with other artists, the satisfaction in having created something good, and art’s role in making retirement fruitful and worthwhile. Then there is the importance of retaining the sheer joy of play in our lives, even as we age, that making art provides and, finally, the joy of giving paintings to others.

     

    All these points resonate. Having something meaningful to do in retirement is very important for me. The “meaning’ I find in painting is that I can be immersed in this “flow” and exist in the eternal “now” without the intrusion of past regrets or worries about the future -perhaps a bit like meditation in nature. When I paint, I feel a connection to something greater than myself.

    Also, our work can be a focus of attention for other people, for viewers now and in the future. I see in it the possibility of a kind of immortality; something of our mind that might outlast us - a vision that will continue to exist after we no longer do, and which might be experienced by those still living and by future generations. It might sound egoistic, but I find the urge to be remembered important. That might have something to so with not having kids. But, then,  ancestors are forgotten. Who knows anything of their great, great, great, great … grandparents? But the great painters are immortalized in their works.

    These, and the other sorts of “meaning” that folks have pointed to, may have no monetary value, but we find them significant and important, nonetheless.


    Thanks, everyone, for responding so thoughtfully to this question. 

    A new question will be posted shortly. 

    Rob     :)
    GTOCBGArtGalAbstraction
  • Rob
    A late but interesting addition on this topic

    In Living with Art, Mark Getlein proposes six activities, services or functions of contemporary artists:[5]

    1. Create places for some human purpose.
    2. Create extraordinary versions of ordinary objects.
    3. Record and commemorate.
    4. Give tangible form to the unknown.
    5. Give tangible form to feelings.
    6. Refresh our vision and help see the world in new ways.
    GTOArtGaljoydeschenesAbstraction
  • All good points, @Dencal.  Numbers 5 and six resonate especially. :)
  • Not for fame or money, but to celebrate, exemplify, or just plain create something from nothing. Very satisfying.
    tassieguy
  • Thanks for responding, @PaulB. Like most, it's not about fame and fortune for you. :)
    PaulB
  • PaulB said:
    Not for fame or money, but to celebrate, exemplify, or just plain create something from nothing. Very satisfying.
    With a teeny tiny little brush in your case.. ;)
    PaulB
  • I paint for 'deeper meanings' of life. :p  However, I feel this serious activity needs stimulus from external sources for more motivation (recognition and money). This is a difficult business to be in and aiming for money and recognition would be helpful to explore more. I feel exploration and monetization are complementary to each other. 

    I seem like and outcast in this chat  :s
    StephanHMAbstraction
  • edited December 2021
    For me, the money is a necessity, and practically speaking money and reputation are one in the same. I'm a freelance illustrator as my day job, been doing that for about 6 years now. I was very ill for many years, and wasn't able to get a regular job because of that, so i worked my way into the only niche i could successfully occupy, which was digital illustration.I started oil painting again as a motivational exercise [purposefully practising something i really struggled with made it easier to do digital work afterwards] but then i realized i had fooled myself into a serious interest in the study and practice of oil painting.

    I really cant just be a digital artist. it can get very boring being a freelancer, with the expectation of producing consistent quality month after month, and there is not much of a tactile experience with tablet drawing. But I also cannot afford to spend hours upon hours doing something without the possibility of gaining something back from it, so the only choice left therefore is to train my skill at painting in a serious way, with the same dedication and general goal as when i trained myself to illustrate.

    I've spent three years seriously studying and practising realistic oil painting, using as many hours as I can spare from paid work. at first it was a couple days a month, now I've been able to spend about 4 hours, almost every day on it, thanks to the money i get from illustration, which is enough now that i no longer need to work 60 hours a week like i used to. If i work hard i can be ready to submit a proper portfolio to a gallery in the next year and a half.

    Oil painting is a second income for me, the earnings of which have been small so far but oftentimes longer term goals have higher payoffs and im in a position to make that gamble.


  • Thanks, @KaustavM and @StephanHM. Don't feel like an outcaste @KaustavM. We all need money. Money is not bad in itself and can be a stimulus or motivator as you say. I get a thrill each time I sell a picture because it tells me people appreciate my work. Nothing wrong with that. But money alone would not be enough for me to keep going - the needs to be more than that - the sort of things mentioned above are what do it for me. 

    @StephanHM, It's great that you've been able to make a go of it as a freelance digital illustrator and that you can now give some time to oil painting. We all need an income, and to be able to earn it doing something you love, is a great position to be in. I'm a full time painter now (even though I'm supposed to be retired) but I wouldn't like to have to live on only what I get out of painting. I'm lucky I was able to put money away for my retirement and so I would continue to paint even if I made nothing out of it because I love it and it keeps me sane. I'd be bored out of my brain without painting. :)
  • tassieguy said:
    The “meaning’ I find in painting is that I can be immersed in this “flow” and exist in the eternal “now” without the intrusion of past regrets or worries about the future -perhaps a bit like meditation in nature. When I paint, I feel a connection to something greater than myself.

    Also, our work can be a focus of attention for other people, for viewers now and in the future. I see in it the possibility of a kind of immortality; something of our mind that might outlast us - a vision that will continue to exist after we no longer do, and which might be experienced by those still living and by future generations.

    @tassieguy I resonate with both of these, Rob. I hadn't actualised the thought but recognised it immediately. Flow - just grab the inner tube and be carried along by it and there is nothing else in those moments. That's a big part of it.
    Then there's what's to come. I do have kids but still hear the impending silence and feel the urge to scratch some sort of graffiti with my paint brush that says, I may have the lifespan of a gnat and be dwarfed by endless galaxies - but unlike the gigantic supernovas and pulsars I am alive and aware and see beauty and create.
    tassieguy
  • Well said. We think and feel alike about painting, @Abstrsction:)
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