Apr. 27, 2016

When We Have Art

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
-- Pablo Picasso

You've worked on that organ piece long and hard, you can play it now from memory, note for note at concert tempo, and you know it thoroughly.
It's someone else's writing, but you've created your own interpretation of this work, this rendition of yours, out of nothing using only your knowledge of music and your imaginative skill, and it sounds awesome.
Maybe you've written your own original work, it's well crafted, useful, and beautiful to listen to, and you've learned it and can perform it for yourself.
Convinced this is art, you're practicing it at home or at your place of worship, all by yourself, late at night behind a locked door, and you're the only one who can hear it.
This is not art.
But when that same music of yours is performed for someone else, as soon as it has that collision with another person or group of people to where it creates a change for the better in both you and them ... then we have art [See blog, The Book, Part II].
The finest organ fugue of Sebastian Bach ...
The finest piano score of Frederic Chopin ...
The finest orchestral score of Ludwig van Beethoven ...
The finest marble sculpture of Michelangelo [See blog, Getting Started With Writing, Part XXVI] ...
The finest oil painting of Leonardo DaVinci ...
The finest choreography of Gene Kelly ...
The finest acting of Spencer Tracy ...
The finest novel of Victor Hugo ...
The finest poem of Edgar Allan Poe ...
The finest operatic score of Richard Wagner ...
The finest play of William Shakespeare ...
If it was always kept bottled up in a private space to where no one except its creator ever heard it, saw it, read it, experienced it, or felt its impact, it would never have qualified.
The moment of its first impact with someone else or a group of people, creating that all important change for the better both in them and its creator ... that's the moment when it became art.
If your plan is to explore the boundaries of the art with your composing or improvising, then you have the right idea, because there's no map on how to be an artist.
The reason that art is valuable is precisely because one person cannot tell another precisely how to do it [See blog, Free Stuff].
A craft can be taught that way; an art cannot.
Art is the act of navigating without a map.
If there were a map, then there would be no art.