Your Creativity Matters Now

Jim Woods recently posted a short, thought-provoking post Is There Good Art and Bad Art.

It got me all riled up. Here’s how I responded to his post:

In a world of numb, art makes us feel and think. As to good or bad, it’s not a good question for art.

Art isn’t math. It’s not formulaic and simple.

It’s as complex as an emotion.

And are emotions good or bad?

It’s a discussion that could go on and on…

As creatives, we make people feel again.

We bring life to the lifeless.

We awaken thought to the thoughtless.

We kindle smoking embers in those who feel their dreams are dying.

Our efforts are good.

Your life, your creativity and your contributions matter.

Don’t let the question of good or bad keep you from moving forward. Someone needs what on you can offer.

And they need it today.

 ***

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Have a wonderful Friday fellow Creatives!

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • I agree with what you are saying. You, or I, shouldn’t let the thought or fear that our art isn’t good keep us from doing it. I did respond that there is bad art, but what I was really trying to say was that art that is driven by hate and negativity is bad art. I guess what that means is that the heart of the art is bad.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I hear you on the ‘hate’ and ‘negativity.’

      Yet, even ‘negativity’ is a bit subjective. Say you are trying to encourage a ‘negative’ person. Your encouragement could be negative to him. But (here’s the key) it makes him FEEL something. And hopefully THINK something as well.

      Thanks for your comment Larry. I love the discussion.

  • It is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, right? The same with art: it shows the artist’s heart. Puts it on display for all the world to see.

    And the “best” art is always redemptive, lifting people up beyond themselves.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Yeahman. Transcendence…

  • I totally agree.

  • I highly recommend (if you haven’t read it) the late Francis Shaeffer’s Escape From Reason

    • Andrew Zahn

      I’ve read some of Francis’ other stuff, but not that. Thanks for the suggestion Chad.

  • Creative art will always elicit a response – either positive or negative, but it should not prompt a shrug of the shoulders.

    • Andrew Zahn

      That’s a great way to put it Judith!

  • “I do not know anything about Art with a capital A. What I do know about is my art. Because it concerns me. I do not speak for others. So I do not speak for things which profess to speak for others. My art, however, speaks for me. It lights my way.” -Mark Danielewski

    When taking a humanities course in high school, once upon a time, we discussed the “levels” of art-for example: pretty= those shimmery lights you hung on your christmas tree, beautiful= someone with particularly attractive aesthetics, sublime= something evoking awe and inspiration. There alone is a conversation/debate in and of itself. Why? Because our perceptions are so different. The blue you see may not really be the same shade of blue I see, but we’ve grown up together referring to whatever that thing is we’re both seeing as blue. You may find it mesmerizing, I may find it revolting. But, that doesn’t make either one of us right or wrong.

    I think the topic of art being bad or good is like trying to decide if religions are bad or good, and if so, how. What inspires and/or resonates with one may leave someone else in a mind numbing haze. Art, like religion, is sacred. It’s something that, if authentic, opens us up and puts our vulnerabilities out there. It also has the capability to bring our spirits to life and draw out the very best in us. When an artist puts their work out to the world, they’ve put themselves out there- their vulnerabilities, their talent, their growth and progress, their journey of exploration… and pending the emotional state of the viewer, it will receive a positive, neutral, or negative response. If an artist has offered an honest work, I would argue there is no ‘bad’ there- I might not like it, I may even find it downright ugly, but someone else may find it speaks to their soul in a way something that I do like can’t match.

    All that said, I realize there is also the realm of art that can be incredibly offensive to some people. The reasons why they’re offended come into play, but so does the intent of the artist. Were they intentionally trying to just get a reaction? Is it art if its sole purpose is to stir controversy? If it does stir controversy is it a good or bad kind that will cause necessary, albeit uncomfortable, discussion? Even if it is hateful, is it bad if it causes something positive to come from its existence? And even if it doesn’t cause anything positive, what if it’s born of hateful intent, but the artist has genuine mastery over the skill they used to create? I suppose this could digress into a rather lengthy essay (which it appears to have begun to do), so I’ll spare everyone the rambling stream of consciousness I’m typing out…

    I think I’m left with the question, what do you mean by “art”? I think life is art. Living, breathing, cooking, writing, moving, speaking, interacting, language is all art… Can we judge how each person lives, experiences life, and expresses it as inherently good or bad in such black and white terms?

    • Andrew Zahn

      You should turn this into a guest post for this blog or yours.

      I love this type of conversation about art!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  • “We kindle smoking embers in those who feel their dreams are dying.”

    Preach, Andrew. The above statement is definitely how the art of others has affected me before. As artists, we are neglecting our duty if we refuse to create.

    • Andrew Zahn

      You comment influenced my post today: that we, as artist, are the preachers… we are the influencers even more so than politicians or preachers.

      Thanks Stephen 😉

  • No matter how bad you are at drawing or painting, you are still an artist. There is no such thing as bad artist, just different styles. Your style is unique and no one else has it except for you.

    • I meant bad art, just different styles**

      • Well I dont think there is a such things as bad art or bad artist. Just different styles.

        • Andrew Zahn

          It’s interesting that what one person may not deem as ‘art’ another may deem as a masterpiece.

          It’s the old “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

          Thanks for dropping by Steven!