What is an artist? What is art? How is an artist defined and who exactly gets to set the definition? Is everyone an artist like Picasso said or is it that creative genius is reserved for those fortunate enough to be blessed with talent at birth as the ancient Greeks and Romans believed?
I’m gonna let you in on something… sometimes I don’t work well with other people. Maybe it’s my artistic temperament or maybe I’m just an asshole.
Last Tuesday I paid a visit to Eddie Doherty, Handweaver in a small town called Adara, Co. Donegal on the northwest coast of Ireland. I had been in his shop a few days before, just browsing, not looking for anything in particular. When I saw the set-up, I immediately thought that a conversation between us would make a good episode for the Podcast.
The artist’s duty is often doubted by the artist herself, but can never ultimately be in doubt. What motivates the creative person is inherently personal, coming from a multitude of real world and psychic experiences. In that, it is as all art should be, boundless. When we define art we box it in. The self cannot be boxed in, not ultimately.
Everyone is an artist, and everyone has the potential to create art in their work if they choose to. But very few of us choose to. For most of us, work is a means to an end. It’s something that we’d rather not do but we do it because we have to. We have made our commitments, primarily to others, and we’ve got to keep them. The goals we have are largely head goals and they are rarely our own.
Adults don’t play for a living – we work. They tell us we need to do this work in order to be responsible members of society, to be worthy. This work, for the vast majority of us is toil, effort, something we’d rather not do. Something that has become a means to achieve an end.