The Journey Into Art: Personal Artistic Expression Vs Better Art

January 18, 2022  |  Bodie California

I recently showed my work to a renowned artist. I asked, "Was this good art?"

The work in question had both curved and straight lines.

He then recounted previous conversations with artists. They had opined better art was more consistent. Combining straight and curves lines was not as such "the better" art. Being consistent with lines in the image was considered the more desirable method in art.

Now I have great respect for this artist and that has not changed.

So I spent the effort to make the work more aesthetically "better".

Yet...

Something remained unsettled within.

My life is reflected in my artistic work. It a combination of straight lines and curved lines. I love movement, adventure, and spontaneity. Yet I also adhere to rules and standards. So the most personally meaningful presentation is a combination of straight and curved lines.

As I move further down the road of expressing a personal style of art, this issue is slowly growing in importance

However I chose to present the one I considered most aesthetically "better". I have been one to adhere to standards of care in medicine, so it should not be surprising that I would adhere to the opinion of one whose aesthetic judgment I trusted.

The artistic journey has been a fascinating one for me, as I move from a science-based profession into a field completely dominated by opinion and personal experience.

As in most fields, one must follow those more experienced. But this is art and not medicine. There really are no rules in art. There are certainly generally agreed-upon ideas, but you won't lose your license or get sued because you did not obey the rule-of-thirds.

I am reminded that Picasso is attributed with saying: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

I also recall the words from an unremembered source, "If you break the rules, you better have a damned good reason for it." Perhaps it was from my medical training, but it also fits my artistic training as well.

I have realized I need to express my own experience, regardless of outside opinion, by not adhering to generally accepted notions, IF I want to express something other that what the notion represents.By not following generally accepted notions I understand I would need to explain why I did not follow them.

It is a fascinating and awkward transition from a profession rife with scientific standards to one so much founded on personal expression and opinion. It is also remarkably freeing as well as a bit unsettling to not have an objective path to follow. I have to look within for direction, expression, and explanation.

This experience reminds me of my early years in medicine, when I had to make decisions and presentations in front of more skilled professionals. Eventually that anxious, exposed feeling subsided. It will with my art.

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