Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"In Transition Once Again"

(Title is a Peter Gabriel lyric from Growing Up maybe? Digging in the Dirt? I can't recall...)

I have begun to obsess about my upcoming album.

So, there I was listening to it, thinking, "yeah, this isn't really where I want my music to be. This is a transitional album."

Barely had the thought drifted off the lips of my inner monologeur (in this case, I think he was wearing a trench-coat and a derby and speaking with a Londoner accent) when I thought "Crap. All of my albums have been transitional."

Then: isn't all art transitional? ...Does an artist ever really "settle" into what she's doing? I'm not sure.

I was in Hawai'i recently, and had the chance to visit quite a number of reasonably good art galleries. One of them had some fucking incredible Wolton oils hanging, so I ended up talking to the curators. ...Turns out they (two, middle-aged women, well-dressed and very nice but air-headed) really knew nothing about the process of art. Neither of them had any aspirations to learn, either. Neither knew what impasto meant, as I was trying to tell them that most of their gallery used the technique. But the disappointing sentinels aren't relevant to the point, which will come up on the gui'tar any moment, now...

[strum, strum]

The point was that Wolton claims--and the simple-minded ladies agreed--to have found his paces. At this late stage of his life, he just paints to express himself, and learns nothing in the process. In fact, he says himself:

If our art can be repeated using only skilled craftsmanship [that] ultimately
reaches its level of maturity, all that "knowing how to paint" becomes a
subconscious mechanism. The creative energy, unhampered by concern
or lack of confidence, then spills itself onto the canvas."

This implies that there is an end point. That we can "find ourselves" in art. Sure seems an appealing idea. I would like to be able to claim mastery of my craft.

...The thing is, I'm not sure I buy it. It certainly ain't true for me. ...At least, it shows no sign of slowing.

And I'm not sure I really mind. Part of the appeal of art (and music) for me is the aspect of personal growth.

So here's to always being in transition!

[NP: Evening Star by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. Hey, sometimes I like to chill to old-school ambient.]

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