I remember writing in my blog Rubbish: “Artists, it seems to me, are either very sure characters or very broken characters.” On this matter, I’ve realised that to be an artist you can’t be indecisive. To dilute completely, creating art is purely a process of [creative] decisions. Many of these choices are too insignificant for the viewer to note, but each decision of colour, tone, intensity and quantity of application etc. builds a unified impact. It is the act of decision-making - of shaping his or her own journey - that enthrals the artist with their work.
The concentration necessary to do so is not in order to imitate (if they wish to), but to decide how it is that they can imitate, step-by-step. If I reference this to literature – in this blog I am constantly deciding which word to write next. In certain places, I appear to have little choice, little spectrum for creativity because I am limited by my ties to ‘sense’. My aim is to make sense, but more than this, I decide to write in a way that is more elaborate, decorative, and phonaestically pleasing, thus cohesive as well as coherent. For example ‘elaborate’ – an adjective with many synonyms - is a much larger decision I have made.
Decision are what gives the creator, the artist, power. It is what connects so closely the creator with his creation because no creator will make the same sequence of decisions. My tutor predicted that on a busy day in the studio, we would make around a hundred decisions about our work; and this is why Juan Gris said, “You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.”
The sculptor Giacometti said, “There are too many sculptures between my model and me,” which expresses exactly why decisions are what tires an artist out. Conscious work is full of them. And it drains. It is no wonder to me now why the surrealists delved into the unconscious, the sub-conscious, because they wanted to see where art leads if it has a paucity of, or if null of choices. Does that make the work even more a visual embodiment of the creator, or does it make it less so? The surrealist would probably discuss the quality of the outcome, saying something along the lines that while conscious art knowingly mimics its creator; it mirrors the image the creator wishes to reflect. Whereas the unconscious is truthful to the mind of its creator. Not true to reality (is this really possible in art?), but true to the composed, exposed and unexposed thoughts of its maker.
‘Automatic Drawing’ by Andre Masson, 1924.