Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be like a child....

(This is the first part in a series of short essays about art.)

Children can be such great artists. If a child is allowed to just be, to be free from adult expectation, then what you will get is a picture or painting that is purely that child's expression and it will always be beautiful. What makes it beautiful? It's beautiful because spirit soars onto the paper as the child gets lost in a project with heart felt innocence.

In Colorado Springs recently, I saw an exhibit of abstract paintings by renowned expressionists. At the end of the exhibit they had another collection of abstracts, these were a little bit smaller, all were carefully framed, they were quite impressive. Upon further inspection it became clear that these were paintings by 2 year olds, some 3 olds. The curator was making a point that we (as children) have this art stuff within us from an early age, not because we are genius, but because as children, we were, in most cases, unconditioned and in tune with our natural state of being.

The drawings here by Dale Chihuly illustrate my definition of being child-like and letting your spirit shine in your work. His drawings are brilliant accidents that were intended to show his team of glass blowers his conceptual design for his art glass....but these drawings end up being works of art in themselves. Why? Because they have spirit, he was having great fun when he made them, they actually breathe. Dale has breathed life onto a blank piece of paper, he was in the moment, just being, much like a child expresses himself.

The word "Art" could translate as spirit and in my imaginary dictionary it does. There's lots of art that appears devoid of spirit, but I want to suggest that it is impossible for a work of art to be devoid of spirit. Perhaps, in many instances, the artist's spirit is conditioned, crushed and heavy. The art from this artist can be disturbing for the viewer. When you observe a piece of art you experience the space or conditioned mind of the artist at the point of creation. That's why some art moves you in one direction or another, and why children's art tends to be so delightful.

Original and multiples by Dale Chihuly at Pismo Glass Gallery, Denver, Aspen and Beaver Creek.


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