There is something in the world of arts I am coming to understand more clearly now that I am within the Liberal Arts as a scholar.
And it is this:
The arts are difficult for people to understand and get into because the rules are very abstract.
When I was just an artist, writer, musician, theatrical actor (and all the other things I have been artistically) for fun, I had no idea why everyone wasn’t trying to incorporate art into their life. They felt scared of trying the arts, feeling that they were somehow unable to be any level of “good” at it.
I laughed and encouraged them to try. Why not? It’s expression, it is letting your true self out. Everyone should do that right? Why were they so scared?
And even more than that, why was it that when I told people I enjoyed all these artistic expression, did they assume I was some sort of stuck up snob?
I didn’t see why someone couldn’t just compose for fun or write for fun, or even finger paint as an adult because they felt like it.
Now I see it is because when one tries to study the best of the best, they are all geniuses of some sort, and yet there are still no rules attached to them.
Let me explain this concept.
Take a mathematician or a scientist, for example. They are geniuses because they can solve complex equations or prove/disprove facts of the universe. You can put their genius down on a piece of paper and everyone can sit around and say “Wow, they are a genius!”
Now, take a painter or a novelist. You can show people the painting, or have them read the book, and every single person is going to have a different opinion on the piece. Some will claim the person is a genius, some will think the person is an idiot.
That is because when we talk about art, we are talking about a person’s view of the world, and how they choose to express that to other people. Some people will get it, and some people won’t.
However, when you study it as a scholar, you learn what all the lay people are being judged by. You learn “the rules” as to what makes something good and what doesn’t. And now, I can honestly say, if this is what was presented to me before I fell in love with the arts, I , too, would be afraid to try.
Art is so personal, and like showing a newly discovered part of yourself to people who don’t know who you are even on a normal day. The idea that people might be judging you or following a set of rules that, to be honest, are vague and more opinion than fact, is extremely daunting.
Here is my advice: Do art anyway.
Do not let these heady, vague, scholarly rules make you feel like you are unable to do art. Art changes over time and so do the rules.
If the art is genuine, then it is good.
P.S. The only time I would recommend learning or applying these rules to your work is if (and only if) YOU WANT TO.
I do, so I am getting a degree that allows me to implement these techniques into my work because I enjoy it. However, when I am teaching an art class, I NEVER tell my students they are not meeting these standards or that they are wrong, because art is not about trying to be great. It is about trying to be you.