Sunday, February 27, 2011

World view, artist's intentions (Neal Adams, Charlie Sheen, and more)

A Scottish professor acquaintance of mine engages in discussion with other enthusiastic creatives about world view: when we cannot separate the art from the artist, "it's Intentional Fallacy 101." I'm going to drop the literary terminology he employed for the moment; he was saying, a master artist can incorporate multiple world views, gleaned from her/his impressions. He gave Hamlet, Canterbury Tales, and Finnegan's Wake as examples, and asked: "what is the world view presented?"

I may crash and burn, but this is absolutely my standard for what I want to do in my novels, even shorter works. I'd rather crash and burn taking this chance! I even want songs that tell different biographies---but what I sing seems to require more fidelity with my world view, and generally, my feelings, as it is more of an emotional catharsis, while writing is more of an intellectual catharsis. These sorts of concerns may not play into work taken strictly for-hire, but they do play into expressive art. Hope that's clear. (And yet...not.)

This makes me curious about what a writer/ artist chooses and feels the need to draw, and if that is any different than what they need to write.

I am still getting the hang of drawing, so I'm focused on what I feel like drawing. I've already begun investing in characters not coming from the personal point of view, though they originate from my life experience.

I think even a villain should utilize some interesting part of your world view or knowledge. There's room not only for plenty of negatively-oriented characters who add to the oppression but aren't villains you can beat to enact a change---even for stories where there's no villain one can defeat, though there's much suspect behavior on display.

I imagine an artist never gets far away from drawing what they feel like drawing---and without enthusiasm, it shows!

I think the feelings invoked by the art, whichever piece we're talking about, are another matter, and create a third experience: not the art & creator, not the reader, but the overlap called interpretation, where the art mixes into your internal life, to interact with perceptions, independent of the source.

The artist cannot calculate this: in fact, that's one of the rewards, potentially, of feedback. The artist can, however, broaden the potential of her/his work to interact with a greater range of perceptions (and for that, we thank them!)

So sometimes, you may find a movie, or comic book, or song that's very well rendered in some technical aspect---let's say, a Micheal Bay film, with amazing special effects and visceral explosions and larger-than-life scale. (The example at hand was the recent work of Neal Adams.) There may be no lack of enthusiasm or attention to detail---but your emotional reaction? "Mileage may vary." (The professor in question liked it---the Professor he debated, didn't!)

Tom Cruise as a Scientologist---or perhaps, the media's coverage of his eccentricities, and over all ubiquitous presence---might influence your willingness or enjoyment of his movies. In fact, he's a great example of how a star / artist has a reputation beyond his work that becomes mixed, for the audience, with the body of work. You may find the strength of a work (and let's face it: he doesn't write or direct most of his roles) will override your outside opinions.

You might even be of a mind that an artist's world view and their work are separate. So, you might still be able to laugh at Two and a Half Men without regard for Charlie Sheen's meltdown. You might find it awfully unfunny without regard for Sheen. You may be able to listen to Chris Brown without thinking about his disastrous relationship with Rhianna; you may find it impossible to separate; and you still might identify with his struggle for redemption and change.

And just think: people without television are even further removed from the media's interpretations of artists---IF they don't look it up on the Web. Yes, there are people who read books and even live without power, too---and are they any less able to enjoy art, or a good book, without knowing much more about the artist?

You may learn about the artist's limitations in world view; you may only perceive what that artist considers and presents as a commercial approach. Your world view, of course, will play into this. What you really judge, in the end, is that other creation: the one YOU make, with your interpretation.

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