Art and other kinds of lens-making

The goal of art is NOT to make something people like.

The goal of art is to make something honest, something real, something that successfully magnifies the Great Light Within and helps it be felt. This is why we know art (as a direct experience/feeling) when we encounter it — and also why "what art is" can be different to all people, while still being a definite, discernable quality: We're all different people, and what lens shows us truth is as individual as what prescription makes our vision clear…but clear vision, like truth, even though it's relative, definitely exists. Art exists. It serves a purpose. It's a thing. And that thing is made by focusing the, for lack of a better term, inner light, into something others can see. Go read/get any great artist's thoughts and you can see this process in action.

But liking it? People–your people; the ones you happen to be stuck around, geographically, temporally, socially–may like your art, or (more likely) not. If they do, it's a happy accident; if they don't, well, then you and the few who do like it, needed it all the more.

(And of course, maybe long after you're gone, the people who will REALLY like your art will find it. Happens all the time. Especially since those driven to make art are often ahead of, or outside, their time.)

Soooo THIS IS WHY SELLING ART IS SO DANGEROUS to making art, and why the vast majority of art-intended-for-sale fails to be actual, truth-revealing art: The point of making something for selling, a condition for doing that work well, IS to make something people like. And the urge to edit for social approval is strong in all humans, even unmitigatedly cantankerous ones (like me) — even *without* money or survival hanging in the balance, shutting off that social-minded critic is a monumental task. So if you sell your art, you put it and you under that much more pressure to make it "something people will hopefully like" — and that could very well run counter to its soul, to its existence as art, to its function as a lens that focuses a particular light. (In a wrongheaded society, the chance that truth will run counter to popular appeal is all the greater.)

Art CAN be sold, of course; and perhaps some people of incredible self-reliance and fortitude can make it intending to sell it and still have it be art (though in that case, they'll have to be totally uncaring about it not selling, which is damn difficult if it's how you're getting paid) — but the spectre of money is the opaque shadow of approval, which entirely blocks out the light that true art is trying to let us see.

Approval is about what we WANT; about escapism — art is about what IS; about realization and revelation.

When it comes to money/approval and "true art", you can (maybe) keep both of those rabbits if you happen to have them, but you'll never catch either by chasing after both — and if you catch one, it'll be money/approval: Truth runs a lot faster.

About puredoxyk

Word addict, kungfu/taiji nut, and life-partner to polyphasic sleep. Rabid fan of as many hobbies as the world will let me pry into its piddly fourth dimension (it helps to have knocked out the fourth wall).
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