Why Art?!

I mean really… why? Why bother? Why not get a “real job”?

Here’s a bit of prose I wrote years ago, specifically about this subject:

“ART FULLY
Glenn Kaiser

yeh yeh nice guy sat in front of me in English
so what and when are you gonna get a real job ya liberal
fem creep?
o.k. so art and me get along
sometimes well
and other times Art wants to drag me to hell
an’ I don’t wanna go
or don’t wanna know
or get tired of trying to entertain art
like it’s all for his show

I think sometimes he lies but wants me to accept
his vision of a world that only makes me upset

yeh I went to school with Art
nice fella he was
before he fell completely in love with
his own image
maybe he had something to say about something

maybe

maybe not.”

See, the common person can be a little suspect about artists and art-making. I mean, among the young it’s changing but a lot of folks think artists are a bit odd. And sometimes we are!

Artists may well have that left-brain/right-brain issue… they just think outside the box, in the abstract.

Perhaps like me as a young musician, the idea of being moody seems cool. I don’t at all think that now, but I digress!

God is Creator, He made little creations (us) who also often really like creating stuff.

We may create in our minds, with words, paint, pencils, pens, tile, fabric, computers, clay, dance, guitars, hand drums, with wood, cement. metal or glass, cameras, saplings or seeds out of which all sorts of things bloom.

By now my attached pictures are making sense, no? But sometimes art and creative expression doesn’t seem to make sense. And that’s one of the issues some have with art. Sometimes, me too!

Creativity and imagination seem quite hard-wired into the human psyche and no matter where one goes, no matter what country or provice within a country, city, town, rural areas, all of these contain people who are artists. Some aren’t thinking much about it still they imagine and create.

My wife knits and cooks and does all sorts of creative stuff. She sings, gardens and she and my daughters are each really creative on so many levels. I see it in my sons-in-law, in my grandkids -this God-given creative spark.

Art is to a great extent in the eye of the beholder. That is to say some appreciate -this- bit of created stuff but not -that-. Personal taste and opinion figure largely in what is and is not considered cool regarding art.

Then again there is the concept of “great technique but I just don’t care for that sort of thing”. I’m like that with most (not all) jazz for example.

Many cultures have a high view of art and I would say many subcultures truly flourish around artistic endevour.

So why is it that so many people think in negative terms about artISTS?

There is the “artistic temperment” which in plain English means “prima donna”, an attitude of superiority and often such an artist is quite talented but doesn’t see their gift as something to carry with humility in the wide world. They believe they are to be respected beyond other mere mortals simply due to their exceptional (at least in their own mind) talent in whatever the art form may be.

Snobs, arrogant adult children -and I now mean adults acting like kids- are a pain and miserable to be around. There comes a time you don’t CARE how great they are, you just don’t want to be near them due to their meglomaia, tantrums and their air of believing the myth they are somehow better than most of humankind.

Artists are often liberals in their political leanings. I don’t frankly know why that is, but in my own experience most artists do lean left more than right regarding politics.

Perhaps artists who are pretty focused on their art-making (acting, music, fine arts, etc.) have often been considered strange or weird by enough people over enough time that they themselves feel that rejection as misfits. Those in society considered unusual are often welcomed by creative people, hence left-leaning politics, a wider tolerance and acceptance of others who have lived with rejection is something a good many artists understand. I certainly understand it.

Then, as I suggest in my piece of prose above, sometimes art seems vague, so full of symbolism that you, I or most of us just don’t get it! WHAT exactly was the artist trying to SAY after all? Does it matter? Sometimes people just walk away confused or troubled by what seems to make no sense to them regarding a song, photo, painting, poem or movie. There are more reasons for this than I care to discuss here, but the fact is artists mostly put their art on display and that means (rightly or wrongly, accurately or inaccurately) critique, some of it quite scathing. Is it trash or is it great art? There is rarely a one-size-fits-all answer to that.

Certainly artists have to take care not to worship their own image, or worship those things they create. That’s a reality that must be reckoned with.

Regardless, some will love an artistic offering, others will hate or be indifferent to that very same offering. This is part of the artist’s reality.

It’s a matter of grace and truly helpful to realize that we are not our art! Whether our creations are lauded or fully rejected has little bearing on our worth and value, and how good it would be if more artists recognized this!

On a different note (pun intended), several years ago I realized something about myself that I’d never considered prior.

In a conversation with a few people the thought struck me that I don’t listen to a great deal of music… it’s simply in my head. I mean I can walk around on any average day and have any number of songs going on in my mind. Not just other’s songs, but new songs, ideas for songs, on-the-spot stuff.

I can walk in the woods and have a built-in playlist of fresh music in my head that I’ve never heard before because my mind often just spurts out music. Strange I guess… but in any case, I write songs and have all my life. It’s part of who God made me to be and part of the work (yes, work) that I do.

But why?

Apparently God in His wisdom has given gifts and talents of creative imagination to all of us. Some spend more time, I mean consciously- thinking, studying, training, preparing and actually creating art while others simply do it without a great deal of thought or audience applause and kudos.

There is a very real sense in which praise and adoration isn’t the focus of a Christian artist. Well, in one sense it totally is: art is in part, expression. Out of the abundance of the heart the artist makes art, whatever art they are inspired to create.

THE praise and adoration goes to the One from whom the gift
and inspiration truly originates.

If one thoroughly studys the Bible it becomes clear God commands art to be made. For example, “Sing to the Lord a new song”.

In a nutshell, that’s “why art”:)

Thanks for stopping by. Now go make something that honors Him!

-Glenn

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