There can be no true art without living.
True art doesn't imitate art. It imitates life. Or better, it helps to explain and understand life. If I take my inspiration from art, I get it from music, literature, paintings, opera and dance. I don't really enjoy going to the theatre or watching a film as much as one might think. I find it hard to get involved in the story because I am watching actors act. I'm watching workers do their work. Having spent almost 50 years as a performer, I have an educating view of what actors do and what they don't do I can see the difference between the good and the bad, the real and the fake, the inspired and the acting-by-numbers. I can spot the influences and the copies. I can tell original work from the in-the-style-of.
It was also true during my career. I could admire them, but I never wanted to be so influenced by the work of another man that I would fall into the temptation of copying him. As a young man I learned a lot from the experienced older actors I had the good fortune to know. But what I learned from them was not technique. It was artistry.
And what is artistry? It's a very difficult thing to explain. Artists and others have been trying for centuries. You won't find the final definition of art in the pages of this journal, or anyone else's I suppose. Art is destroying and creating, it's shutting one's eyes in order to see clearly, it's digging for buried treasure without a map, it's taking all the struggles of one's life and slapping it down on a potters wheel.
One day a young woman came to visit me because she wanted some advice about becoming an actor. I know she wanted to hear about pictures and resumes, about getting an agent, getting auditions and where to look for wark. I could have told her about all of that, but I could tell she wasn't ready for it. I said, as I have said to others, there are as many ways to make a living in show business as there are people who've done it.
Instead, I advised her to read as much as she could, especially the great writers. I told her to go to concerts and carefully listen to the music, to go to the museum and spend time with the pieces there. I told her to watch people. If she wanted to depict the human race she should know what they are really like, what they do and how they behave. And most of all I said she should be aware of her own reactions to everything she experiences in her life. The artist never knows what slight impression, image or gesture lodged in his memory may become the master stroke of a great work of art. It is why the figures in Michelangelo's statues are alive.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.
You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
16 responses so far.
DB - The Vagabond