Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I am a Camera

A good time to leaf look. They say it is peak time right now a little further north. But some pretty nice color around here too.

Here is the angel--"I am a Camera" before I went to Cape Cod, previously shown.

I worked on her some more yesterday, in the inside studio, curtains open. :) More to do.

The novel I Am A Camera was written by Christopher Isherwood in the 30's. It was made into a play by John Van Druten and also a movie. It inspired the musical Cabaret. The first line of the novel is "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." In his review of the play, Walter Kerr said, "Me no Leica." Maybe that was his entire review, I dont know.

Is that the task of artists, or writers? To look, to record, not to judge?? Should our art or writing reveal our political and personal biases and druthers? Or is it our job to just present the world as it is without comment. Of course, comment can be quite subtle. What do you think? How do you view your work as writer and/ or artist?

31 comments:

Annie said...

I believe it is all valid. I can sometimes judge too much and I try to watch that, but I feel we have to have some kind of standard for art. Yes, anything can be art, but is it good art? The tough thing is that we all like different things, but I feel most of us can tell a bad piece of art or writing from good.

Lynn said...

Your red leafed tree is breathtakingly beautiful. Natures' ART for sure! Your angel is glowing in her growth process, coming along beautifully too.
Judging...OY! My fear sets in, and my clamps come on stopping me from making art if I even think of judging... I've entered THE BIG DRAW along with all these REAL ARTISTS and wonder what do I think I am doing? But I want to play, I want to create, even if it's a beginners attempt... so I ask, don't judge me too harshly, I don't want to be turned away. Or keep it to yourself, ;-) I want to play.

Britt-Arnhild said...

My work as a writer - hard to say. A sharing of what is important, a mood, what I can't live without........I have to think about this.

CHEWY said...

Hmm... I think we are not cameras. Every image our eyes capture is affected by our thoughts, experiences and emotions. We are not mechanical.

We have the freedom to choose how to communicate through our art or writing. I don't think there is a requirement to fall one way (extremely biased) or the other (unbiased). I do think there is always a message. The viewer or reader always has a reaction. Even if the reaction is one of dismissal.

A good idea may be presented with poor technique and great technique may poorly translate the artist's message... or anywhere in-between.

I find my poor artworks to be the ones that don't reflect my original vision. But I don't tell which ones those are... because a viewer may have a better opinion of it.

soulbrush said...

that leaf look is fantastic, is it real? our leaves here are so bland compared to yours.
i see myself as a complete amateur and am overtaken with amazement and thrilled to bits when all you 'real' artists compliment me on my stuff.

chook said...

I agree we can't be a camera and not think about what is recorded.
As artists we must show the world as we see it not as it is because it is this vision that can shape the future.

San said...

Glorious red leaves, Suki. Thanks for the glimpse at them. Here in northern New Mexico we get almost exclusively yellow leaves, at least in these parts. I love fall!

And I really like what is happening with your observant angel. Lovely color and I like the softening that occurred in the second version.

As for me, I am not attracted to visual art with a heavy message. At all. A subtle message can be nice in paint or clay or words or whatever. I believe that the most powerful messages are rather subtle rather than overt.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, I agree with Annie...it is all valid. Some artists have a passion for politics and their work reflects that passion. At this time I'm involved in story and I'm hoping to be subtle enough to allow the viewer to see his/her own story. I need to be careful with titles as they can be misleading. We need to judge our work as to line, color, composition but content...I say leave it to the Gods!
Fall color...how wonderful.Will you be posting your new journals on your Etsy account?
Mary Ann

sukipoet said...

HI annie. I see you took a different slant to what i was trying to say. I was thinking of an artwork, say, that is overtly political for example.Offering up by implication a judgement of the other side. Or for example I might be pro-abortion (just an example) and so write a novel that was obviously anti anti abortion. The novel would have a "political" agenda in that case and by implication set a judgement on the other side.

But for what you are saying, yes I guess we have to have some sort of guidelines as to what is good and what is bad art. Though I'd be hard put to know what they are really. Im sure we have all had the experience of seeing a painting that looks pretty bad to us, but there it is in ArtNews and a New York City gallery. Or one that we think is lovely but that is overlooked. I guess that's what you said--we all like different things.

Thanks for your thoughful perspective.

sukipoet said...

Lynn, so glad you want to play. I myself am not a very good draughtsman but I too entered the big draw again. But, if you read my reply to Annie's response, I guess I meant a different kind of judging. The artist himself judging the larger world via their writing or artworks. By the slant the artworks take. Isherwood seems to be saying that I as a camera show the world as it is in all its glory and horror, but without judging what I see. Just recording it. I read this play a long time ago. Perhaps that first sentence is ironic. I can't remember. Glad you have joined the Big Draw. See you there. Been away today so slow to respond to others drawings.

sukipoet said...

britt-arnhild, I don't think its a black and white question. As you seem to say. As Chook says further down, even when we think we are unbiased we are really as we are seeing the world through our own personal slant. We must. I have often tried as a writer to write a story from the pOV of someone very not me. Trying to put myself into someone else's head and shoes. But as objective as I might try to be, it is still just me Suki observing what my mind and experience and sensibilities allow me to observe.

sukipoet said...

Chewy, well said. We are not mechanical. We affect what we see. Isnt that similar to the Heisenberg principle. I may have that name wrong. But I think it says that we affect what we see and that our seeing can change the object we see.
I think you are right that there is always a message. It is impossible to be completely objective. Even if that message might be hidden from ourselves.

sukipoet said...

Soulbrush, isnt' that tree amazing. Well, guess that's why thousands of people come up here to the north country in October to gape. Busloads come. Leaves turn colors in other parts of the country of course, but something about the coldness here or whatever causes the range of colors to go from yellow to red to brown. Lovely. I dont think of myself as a real artist or a not real artist. I just like to make things with my hands.

sukipoet said...

Chook well said, and interesting. Show the world as we see it, not as it is. Probably even if we think we are showing it as it is, we are really showing it as we see it. thank you.

sukipoet said...

San the leaves are just incredible right now. Thanks for your comments on the angel. More work to do. Well said about the most powerful messages being subtle rather than overt. I would say I lean in that direction myself. although I tend to be a literal sort of person so I probably miss a lot of the subtle messages out there.

sukipoet said...

Mary ann, interesting what you say about titles. They can be tricky. but if a work is very abstract, they can also point the way into the painters mind and thoughts when creating the painting. Interesting what you say abt content. I think that's true in writing too. My journals, yes will post them on Etsy soon. Am lagging behind. Thanks for asking. Be well.

sukipoet said...

thanks everyone. Though provoking conversations!

Mim said...

I don't think I have a job as an artist. Sometimes I draw bland. Sometimes I draw angry. I can look at the same thing...and sometimes like it...sometimes hate it. There are no rules. At least as far as I'm concerned

katie jane said...

I agree with San and Chewy, in that I don't like art with heavy intended messages. Art should be interpreted, not preached. It can be a reflection of the inner artist, but interpretation should be left to the beholder.

Love your leaves. Wish ours would change. We still have green.(of course that means raking. Ugh!)

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Lovely tree colors. wow.
and your painting is coming right along.
I like Chewy's comment. I think I paint because I have to. Not because I have some message to put out there. or if there is a message, it is about how lovely life is ..look at it. Some DO like to do the political aspect. I dont. Everyone has their own tastes too. Not everyone is going to like the same thing.
I once sold a painting for a nice sum to someone who saw symbols in it. She had this whole story made up about it and all I painted was some pretty birds taking off. But SHE saw what she wanted to see. So I think all art is in the eye of the beholder.

sukipoet said...

Mim, I think one of the things I love about creativity is there are no rules. I agree.

Katie Jane, well often when art has a heavy message it can become propaganda. An attempt to persuade others or manipulate. I think you are right on though, that it is the viewer often who imports the message, something they see that perhaps the artist didnt intend.

sukipoet said...

Cris, yes. this is so well said. YOu have a surety about who you are as an artist and what you are doing as a painter. That interpretation by the woman who purchased your painting comes from her view. Not necessarily yours directly. So in some ways that is like being a camera No? YOu present what you see without interpretation or message.

Kim said...

Oh Suki, I love, love, love this conversation (too bad I am slow getting to it).

First of all, I love the beauty of the tree...you have captured it so well. And your painting is wonderful...I can feel all those parts of you in there.

Now about your questions. Personally, my art is very much an escape for me. I take my life responsibilities very seriously, so when I begin to create that honestly doesn't enter into it. I feel, upon reflection, the purpose of my art is to ultimately bring good to the viewer. I hope it brings relief from day-to-day life.

I use my reading in different ways, of course, depending on what I am reading. Novels, however, need to end with some joy or with me being able to find the joy. I don't do well with novels which leave me worrying, because those concerns play on my life for months and months. To this point, my personal writing does not fall in the creative arena.

With all of this being said, I don't feel it is wrong for art to stand in judgment, but it is not the way I have been prone to approach it. I suppose you could say my art is not created consciously and maybe that makes the difference. I am not sure.

This is a wonderful post, Suki. I will be back a bit later.

Thanks!

Cestandrea said...

Just to say that I love your angel, the colours are somptuous,
and the tree-leafs, oh how beautiful! Makes me want to come and visit you:)
love
Andrea

sukipoet said...

Kim thanks for your reflections on this interesting post. Or what i mean is the interesting comments on this post. You know you say your art is not created consciously. Now that's a nice way to say it. I wonder if more political or dogmatic art is more consciously created. The creator says I want to tell the world about xyz and sets out to use their talents to do so. Whereas art that is not so dogmatic, is created from a different place within the artist/writer, a place less "conscious." More intuitive. More inner driven to express the numinous. I love it that your goal so to speak is to bring good to the viewer and respite from day to day life and that escape from day to day life is one of the appeals to you of making art. (it definitely is for me)(and my desire is to bring beauty into the world, i am not saying I can do that, but that would be my desire) Is that Art for arts sake?

Interesting that for you you want a sense of optimism and joy at the endof the novel. Otherwise it affects your thoughts for a time. Sounds like you are very sensitive to words. Hmm, maybe you won't like Cora Sandel then as she tends (so others have told me) to be depressing in her themes. I do not find her that way though, I find her uplifting.

Thanks for your kind words re: the tree. Love that tree. And my painting which seems to me is becoming simpler as I paint whereas I'd like a more complex sense to it but anyway....

sukipoet said...

Andrea,it would be delightful to have you visit. But hurry. Already the leaves are falling and soon, bare branches! thanks for your comments on my painting. Rest and renew, Suki

Annie said...

Suki, sorry, sometimes I am still alseep when I blog :-). I do not do paintings that reflect my political views, but they do relfect my spiritual views in a way. Also when I write, spirit gets in ther too :-).I think it is natural and valid for this to happen as whoever is doing an art work will put something of themselves in it, seems impossible not to. I hope I got the question right this time :-).

sukipoet said...

Annie you are so sweet. You didnt get the question wrong. Goodness. Words, well you work with words too, are so nebulous in their meanings and interpretations. One person reads something one way, another another way. That's what makes communication so difficult and interesting. I like what you say abt your writing and painting reflecting your spiritual views. That is the essence of it all isn't it. Our spirit and spiritual selves.Thank you for your perspectives. Namaste, Suki

marianne said...

Pity the blue and the sandy feet are gone.........Guess there is no stopping autumn.
Love the red leaves though. Here we have the kind of autumn I fear most; rain , rain,more rain and wind.......No indian summer or beautiful colors (I remember from Montreal) just autumn.
Lucky I have missed 5 days of this weather when I was away to Bangkok.
The angel is great! What an idea an angel with a camera!

Hug>M<

Elizabeth said...

I LOVE your angel. Also ditto to what Andrea said - your photos of nature and where you live make me want to come visit you too...especially now it is Autumn.
Sigh! How I long to visit New England and see how it compares with the Old England :-)

What i make as an artist, and what I aspire to make do not coalesce at the moment... inner vision and inspiration are key factors. I cannot put more into words.

sukipoet said...

Marianne, fall is kinda dull on Cape Cod. Up here though, so dramatic. To have the angel hold a camera--the idea came from a comment by Britt-arnhild.