Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Addison Parks; Dragon Fly(2012), 20" x 30", oil on board

I've been talking lately about this idea that every artist thinks that they can solve their problems through their work, maybe even the problems of the world; that if they can just make something successful all of their problems, yes, all problems, will go away. Another way of putting it is that when an artist sees problems, they turn to their work to solve them.

Is this crazy? Is this some kind of affliction? Does it take an affliction to make an artist? People have suggested as much. I've had other artists agree that artists are people with a hole in their lives, a hole that they try to fill with art.

One of the key elements inherent in making art is problem solving. Even the most free-flowing artist encounters problems in their work that need to be solved. Problems with drawing. Problems with composition. Problems with materials, color, surface, etc. Problems with light, perspective, space, etc. Problem-solving is just a natural part of the process; the one caveat being that treating your art like a problem makes it a problem. Keep the cart behind the horse. Problem solving is not the prime mover. The prime mover is the driving inspiration that pushes and pulls us through our work.

Solutions can be elusive, and executing them can be sweeping, radical, and even brutally drastic at times. Some work comes easily. Some does not. Some work is a terrific struggle. Artists can't help but form a bond with that work as much as they would love for everything to happen as if by magic. Sacrifices are commonplace. Artists often eradicate aspects, passages, elements which they cherish, but must be given up for the greater good of the work in question. Some artists even go back to the beginning, destroying their first effort and starting over. Other artists make change a part of the experience of the work, part of the process; corrections, failures, about faces, and adjustments absorbed into the whole.

In this respect the artist is king, or God. This ongoing nature of the creative process leads the artist to focus on what they can control: their work. Their work speaks for them. Their work reflects them. A successful work makes them successful, at least for the moment. Every time an artist makes something they are reborn. Remade. Elevated beyond the mundane of the everyday world. Is it any wonder that artists feel as they do, that their work is the solution to all of their problems? Is it any wonder, that like the captain of their creative ship, that they live and die by that ship, and that if and when necessary, they will go down with it? It is a complicated fact that if an artist doesn't feel that way, doesn't turn to art to solve their problems, they probably aren't an artist. For the artist, art solves everything! 

Addison Parks
Spring Hill, 2013

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