A custodian of larger issues

“It is a widely accepted notion that making art is about self-expression.

And it is – but that is not necessarily all it is. It may only be a passing feature of our times that validating the sense of who-you-are is held up as the major source of the need to make art.

What gets lost in that interpretation is an older sense that art is something you do out in the world, or something you do about the world. The need to make art may not stem solely from the need to express who you are, but from a need to complete a relationship with something outside yourself.

As a maker of art you are custodian of issues larger than self.”

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
David Bayles & Ted Orland


Photographs by the Finish artist Janne Lehtinen

4 Comments Add yours

  1. With the first poem written I have sought to connect with the world outside. Perhaps it’s a result of the lack of quality in my work but I find my desire to connect with other people in a personal, meaningful way has on the whole been unsuccessful. I have kept my motivation intact because writing is integral to whatever understanding I have of the world and my place in it.

  2. Sigrun says:

    I find Orland & Bayles’ turning away from self-expression very liberating, relieving almost. The most interesting thing for me as a maker is the process, not the result – and the best phase in the process is when I loose track of time – and of myself.

  3. YES! I first wrote poems to respond to the world, when I was very young. Then, in my late teens and early 20s, I went through the self-expression phase of writing–which I found did not suit me. So I turned to persona poems, and from there into whatever voice I now use in poetry. Which, I would say, is lyric but driven by narrative…a need to tell the story (however strange or personal or universal it may be), and need to observe the world–to find out about it and, as Ronald Shields says, also to find my place in it.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Very interesting to hear how you have chosen different ways to go go about your work. How change is part of the process og being an artist.

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