MANY PEOPLE, MYSELF included, go to a gallery to see modern art or a concert of new music and think, “What were they thinking?” Sometimes it is because you don’t understand the work, and sometimes it’s because it is so amazing you can’t believe a person created it. What goes on in an artist’s head? I am here to answer that question and give you a glimpse into the creative geniuses of our time.
Most artists aren’t as deep as people try to make their art. Don’t get me wrong, artists do put a lot of thought into what they do, but often the meaning is a result of interpretation and comes from the subconscious. This also wasn’t necessarily in the artist’s head; sometimes you just start working. I have found there are two basic categories of working in the art world. The first is the just the “sit down and start method,” or “do what you feel.” This method is great when you are lacking ideas and just need to get something out. The second method is the “I have had an idea for weeks/months/years and have been slowly tweaking it in my head.” In this process, artists are almost constantly thinking, either consciously or subconsciously, about their project and what material they should or shouldn’t use. Both ways can create masterpieces, and both ways can create flops. It’s all up to the artist.
Artists work a lot! I am a composer and musician, and as a result, my work week is technically only about four hours. This of course is not true in the end, as there is countless time spent in between those hours sitting at a piano and practicing or composing for whatever commission I may have coming up. The same goes for painters.
You may look and say they only have a show every couple of weeks (if they are extremely virtuosic). This does not mean they have it easy! Most of the artists I know spend hours and hours moving a brush to get the texture just right and mixing paints to get that color exactly what they imagined. However, when it all comes together, it can create absolute magic, and that makes the time well worth it!
The modern world is the bane of every artist. Pinterest makes everyone think they are fantastic artists. Apple’s GarageBand app makes it seem as if anyone can create good music. Neither of those statements is true. Artists and musicians are highly trained individuals; the arts are such a difficult college major, Yahoo! Education lists the arts as the fourth most difficult major in academia, just under engineering, physical sciences and biological sciences. In my undergraduate education I spent about six hours a day just practicing piano. This time does not include the times I was in class, studying, composing, working or anything else. I was simply locked in a room playing the same music over and over until I mastered it.
Creativity is demanding work! When an artist is trying to create something original, it takes an absurd amount of thought power. An artist needs to stay up to date on what all other artists are working on… they wouldn’t want to spend a year on a project just to find out somebody else just had the same idea and did it first. This requires a large amount of research and networking.
So the next time you are at a concert or gallery, remember these artists have poured their time, lives and souls into their works. Appreciate it, even if you don’t personally like it and support the arts in all forms.