Throwing a gallon of paint at a canvas from across the room is a lot of fun! Something about the destructive nature of creativity, and it scares the hell out of other living creatures in the vicinity, pets, kids, wife, roommates, whoever. But I have hard time justifying the creative worth of such paintings. Abstract, action, fluid, and others like them I find fascinating, but I don’t know why. I almost feel guilty for liking such works.
On the opposite end of the artistic spectrum is realism. I’ve seen many photo realist paintings and I’ve ventured to create a few of my own, and a large part of me finds such works to be hugely dissatisfying. Most times they are meticulously painted scenes of something mundane. Something so boring that I wouldn’t look twice at the scene when presented with it in real life.
So why spend hundreds of hours painting a photorealistic scene of mundanity? Why take the time to haphazardly fling paint at a canvas? Why not? Art is amazing in that one work can offer vastly different experiences to different people. Last year I was walking around the Louvre in complete awe. My fiancé and I spent about eight hours in that museum and at no point did I want to leave. She, on the other hand, fell asleep several times on various benches. Its experiences like this that justifies every form of art. Just because one doesn’t find satisfaction with realism, abstraction, or what-have-you, doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in them!
I think most people would do well not too harshly judge art. Enjoy the experience that comes from viewing a piece, or don’t, and move on to the next. As creatives I think this advice is even more important. In the past when I’ve looked at my own work and compared it with other artists I would quickly become discouraged, never mind the fact that the drawing or painting was a lot of fun to do, and in some way I recognized its importance in the fostering my growth as an artist. However, as I continue to develop my creative skills and personal style I see more and more the value in what I’m doing. My work doesn’t mimic a lot of others out there, or maybe it does and I just don’t know it yet. Either way it doesn’t matter. I’m making art that I find satisfying. I’m making art that I put a lot of effort and hours into, but that I don’t have to struggle through.
I’ve stopped trying to justify my tastes to myself. I like what I like. No apologies or explanations needed. And honestly, doing so has opened the entire world to me. Everything is inspiration, and everything has value! I should never again hurt for subject matter!