Misunderstood is the creative mind, which is not born of logic but drawn from inspiration. By virtue, those with a creative or artistic bent hover on the fringes of society, for so far from the norm are their notions and philosophies. They defy convention and classification.
Unsurprisingly these individuals are attracted to like or open minds and their propensity to gravitate toward one another creates pockets of society such as artists colonies and “off-beat” hang outs. These communities allow these visionaries to feed off one another. The relationships may be mutual collaborations, strong rivalries, or simply a muse is discovered. These creative minds own their pariah status, set their own rules, do as they please, and often living and creating purposely “to be different.”
Their creations are viewed as outlandish and shocking yet offer a truth. Art is passively truth-seeking. It is not a physical attack against someone or some establishment. However, art is, by nature, very reactionary and its consequences can be violent. From a scandalous painting to a simple line drawing lampooning an individual implying misdeeds can sow seeds of doubt or ruin a reputation. In this instance, Art can be murder.
If done correctly, Art will make the viewer question his world, the universe and Man’s place in it. If it does not lead to exploration, the viewer may not be “art minded.” For example, I once went to an art showing with my parents as an adolescent. We came across a piece that did not appear to be . . . well, anything. The work was titled Blank Canvas. That is precisely what it was. My mother was incredulous and sputtered indignantly, “Why it is nothing but a white screen! That is ridiculous!” I lit up when I understood the piece. I explained to her, it is a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless. Comparatively, it signifies frustration with so many possibilities. Where does one begin? It is both the feeling of being stymied and blissfully optimistic. The work was in fact genius! It was a turn of perspective that made it so. Would I have purchased the piece for over $400? No, but the idea was inspiring. My mother is exceedingly practical and still thought it was hogwash. In another incident while pursuing the collegiate art gallery, I approached a rough terracotta sculpture of a woman’s torso. Its unfinished state was a nod to the classical ruins so often studied in art school. The piece was mildly interesting until I caught the title and my perspective was altered. The placard read “Behind Every Great Man.” If unfamiliar with the quote, the entire line goes “Behind every great man there is a great woman.” No one is great without support. For multiple millennia this was always seen as the female role; to support and encourage the husband. I could wax philosophical on this piece and all sorts of interpretations but I shall leave art critiques for another post.
I always found it highly irregular such art movements as Cubism or artists such as Picasso stemmed from the 19th century/early 20th century. I still wonder how the Victorians and Edwardians could produce such art that seems so contradictory to their proper and corsetted times.
There in lies the crux. Artists are ahead of their times. It gives credence to the starving artist stereotype and the philosophy of artists will not see profits until after their demise when the world finally catches up to them and accepts their notions. Symbiotically, society cannot know where it is headed without these visionaries. In modern society technology is King, but those technophiles are really artists and what is more; technology enhances, encourages, and enchants Art. It is a beautiful thing; the artists, beautiful minds not of this time.