Saturday, June 9

art for art's sake

the line i used for my title today is one of my favourite things that the great detective Sherlock Holmes ever said. he wasn't in the mystery business for money or vengeance or even to show off his skills. there are mysteries. and you've got to solve mysteries.

another quote, this from Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

" find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own..."

Mr. Darcy says this to Elizabeth Bennet, and i'm thinking about it today in terms of concocting fictions. i've been wondering about the sort of writer i am. i've wondered this before. how can i answer that question? the writer i am has a lot to do with the things i write about and how i write about them, and writing is one of the things that in turn defines the person i am. but still, i am separate from my art. it's just a thing i like to do.

not many of the things i have done in my life can match up to the adventures i give to my characters. i've never run away from home. i've never killed anyone. i've never stolen anything. i've never had amnesia. all of those carefully (or not so carefully, as the case may be) crafted motives are not a part of who i am.

yet... when building a realistic and meaningful character out of your own brain, how can that character not bear slight resemblances to you, its creator? its opinions and actions will have sprung from within you. if you've never had amnesia, where does that come from?

it's been said that human beings are the only creatures on earth who can hold two contradicting thoughts in their head at the same time. so i can express and opinion that isn't quite my own and put it into the mouth of a completely fictional person.

the next question is, of course, how responsible am i then, for the effect of those words? once they leave my pen they aren't fully mine anymore. anyone could take them and quote them and use them to advocate whatever they feel like.
i painted this. i wrote the scarcely readable 'act innocent' up there in red pen. i cut the words 'french kiss' out of a magazine and glued them down on top of that acrylic mess. i don't fully relate to the opinion expressed there. my personal views on kissing aren't laid out at all clearly in this piece of art. i'm taking delight in expressing an opinion that isn't exactly my own. art to me is expressing any old thing just because maybe it looks cool. it's provocative. it's interesting. for fun.

after all, once you start having real reasons--reasons above and beyond the joy of it--to create art, it's not the same.

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