For a long time now I’ve been intrigued by the many correlations between the visual fine arts and spirituality.
In times past, art was an extension of that uniquely human branch of spirituality: religion. It married the power of vision to the power of institutionalized religion, especially that of the four world super religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Moslem, and Judaism.
A variety of art forms were also core to the traditions and rituals of native cultures – masks, totems, body paint, body adornments, dance, theater, costumes – where spirit was an ever-present reality threaded throughout daily life and initiating or supporting major life transitions, such as birth, death, marriage, life-as-service, and so much more that I can’t even conceive.
When humans shifted the locus of their attention from the tribe, clan, and family–where individuality was invisible under the cloak of the group–to the beginnings of self-awareness.
At this point, the crest of human development used art to pour forth even more testimony to all aspects of the human-as-spirit condition, as envisioned in the private spaces of a single mind and heart, one being at a time.
And with this rise of individuals as aware of self came…
the rise of a completely new form of expression: self-expression. And artists led the way.
But it wasn’t easy. Self-expression, without the sanctity and approval of the clan, was hard won.
Just look at what happened to the Impressionists in France, in the 1860s—reviled, ridiculed, scorned and isolated into poverty and a form of social leprosy when they dared to establish themselves as a small tribe within a tribe.
Nothing doing! The Salons shouted back. We have rules, you know! We have RULES for artists!
The First Four Minutes
And that behavior seemed to be the art world’s version of “The First Four Minutes“—a theory that any cycle of interaction is dominated by what happens in the first four minutes.
And until that cycle of connection is broken (takes a break, has a time out, etc.), the tone of those first four minutes becomes like a long-cresting wave that doesn’t give way until it breaks on the shore.
So enamored of its own clever ridicule, The Clan seemed more than happy to move on from the Impressionists, to the Cubists, to the Dadaists, to Digital Art—a term so emergent that the definitions and challenges are constantly shifting under our technology boots.
And so we arc back around to the clan again. Social Media has connected with its roots by re-inventing the term “tribe,” as in the Individuals who “friend,” “follow,” and blog about you.
It’s as if we’ve decided to shift away from the distraction of us (tribe/clan) against them (each individual making up that tribe/clan).
And move up the evolutionary spiral to a progression of human-spirit development: The ManyOne
And artists, especially fine visual artists like you, have a prime opportunity to wave the flag of creativity and take the rest of humanity with you, over the hill to a New World where the Old World remains as the inspiration energy imprint it was always meant to be.
Haven’t a clue about what I’m talking about?
No worries… you’ll catch up, I promise. And I’m guessing a whole lot sooner than you think because the one truth I know is that you and I are here to add to the magnificence of being alive.
Agree? Disagree? Have another take on all of this?
I’d love to know….
Clarity of vision, along with communication, are the keys to having your collectors and buyers bond as deeply as possible with you and your work.
A compelling artist statement gives that clarity. It also communicates to your audience that you are available as a creative visionary to pass along what you are learning.
And if you want more, stay tuned because I have a lovely surprise coming up in a couple of days.