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Friday, May 9, 2014

Artists: Advice to Avoid the Abyss:

by Rosie Brouillette Walker

The intutive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and forgotten the gift

Going back 500 years...


According to writer Elizabeth Gilbert, who spoke to American society in her book, Eat Pray Love...the artist might do well to consider her gift of elusive creative genius an indwelling spirit of a divine nature and not a personal attribute. Correlating creative genius today with suffering, depression, and early death are common because artistic genius is equated with “being” a genius, and not “having” a genius. In ancient Greece and Rome, mere mortals were thought to be inhabited by a divine spirit for a limited time, the purpose beyond their ability to know. The Renaissance, that led to great rational humanism 500 years ago, also led to the dismissal of creativity as being of a divine nature; that is, outside of the ego. The artist became solely responsible for her creation, not seeing it imbued by chance and thus outside of her control. In this great battle of rationality versus creativity...creativity lost. Today we know, according to science, the characteristics of the rational mind are in conflict with the characteristics of the creative mind.

 Left Brain, Right Brain 


Brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of A Stroke of Insight,  uses the wisdom she gained when a stroke shut down the left hemisphere of her brain. She literally felt her body becoming one with the universe, and slowly and somewhat begrudgingly left “La la land” as she calls it, to enter again into a world of logic and reason over 8 years of post-stroke therapy, but she never forgot what she learned. Were artists of the past in touch with this universally loving place? 

Genetically Aesthetic 


In the state of art today, the rational mind seeks novelty that only the intuitive mind can reach. It is a schism, brought about by Western thought to rid oneself of the intuitive "divine" nature. No trail is too bizarre, skirting the edges of madness in search of novelty ….as long as one avoids appealing to common aesthetics. Is the artist careening in search of something that was never inside himself to begin with? In his book, The Art Instinct, philosopher Denis Dalton reasons that aesthetics are cross-cultural, cross-historical, and something within our genetic makeup that encourages all humans to reward the virtuoso's work in music, art, and theater- and it has always been so. Art appreciation is not something only within the understanding of a self-appointed class of cultural critics. We are genetically programmed to recognize it. Mozart, Rembrandt, and Shakespeare are revered around the world, not just western societies, because of this mass appeal to the innate aesthetics of ALL men, not because their novelty or class distinction in a cultural sense, according to Dalton.  He feels the arts have been in decline the last 200 years, and blames it on a lack of transcendence. “Much of our own art and entertainment is shallow and flashy, made neither for God nor ancestors, but for a market.” Dalton tells the reader.


Art is your work


For the health of the artist..., again, Elizabeth Gilbert begs we see creativity for what it is, a somewhat capricious glimpse of the divine. Rather than the artist attempting to imbue each work with genius through his own efforts; in order to save his or her sanity, it is best to just show up each day and do your job, and hope your genius arrives.


CHURCH WINDOW by Carroll Jones III

Note: Carroll Jones has know success as an artist because he shows up every day for work.  Eight hours a day, seven days a week.  I know he believes, as he once told me, "God is in everything."  I always wondered why he didn't sell out, commercially. Maybe he has too much respect for "the art spirit".  It isn't religion, he hasn't been to church since he was 5 years old.

I have a lot of respect for him.The graphite drawing Church Window was the first work he did following 10 years of commercial success doing portrait drawing of mostly children. It was the first time he felt was being true to his vision. It is in the collection of the Newark Museum in New Jersey.

If you have any ideas, criticisms, or just want to comment, please do!

Thanks for reading! ~ Rose~
To contact Artist:

Carroll Jones III

P.O. Box 3090

Jersey City, NJ  07303