As Artists…

The following is a piece written specifically for my column, The Artist’s Corner, featured in the New Richmond News.

As Artists…

As artists, we must always have ‘yes’ in our hearts. That is the only way we may behold the world with a sufficient depth of vision. It is this vision of the world which translates best onto paper, canvas, film, or stage. If our eyes are shut and we are blind to the world, then our creative work, too, will be blind. An artist is most productive when she views life with an attitude of receptivity and openness.

This isn’t to say an artist must say ‘yes’ all the time to everything. Artists must also be capable of saying a firm ‘no’ a lot of the time, too. We must say no to close-mindedness, no to destruction, and no to convention. These things – close mindedness, destruction and convention – are not the elements which make an artist. They are the elements which make monsters. As artists, we must champion open mindedness, creation, and beauty.

All creative works are composites of form. Form is synonymous with beauty. Out of the chaos of our minds, we construct forms of beauty. As artists, we must accept chaos as an essential ingredient for all true, creative work. It is chaos which makes us human and not machines. It is chaos which makes art possible. We must accept chaos whether or not chaos accepts us.

As artists, we must practice acceptance. We must accept that it is okay to be afraid of not creating something wonderful or powerful. It is okay to be afraid of writers or painter’s block. It is okay to be afraid of not being productive or inspired. We must accept our fears and get down to work regardless!

If you are a writer, try accepting the idea of not coming up with any interesting stories. Give yourself permission to write complete junk. Then apply pen to paper and simply write. You may write about anything, so long as you are writing. That the practice is continued is the most important thing. If you are a painter, accept the idea that this painting might not be your masterpiece. Give yourself permission to play, to goof around. Sever all expectations about your work and don’t quit. You might be surprised when your playing around turns into something fantastic. Even if it doesn’t turn into something fantastic, you will have had no expectation that it should.

As artists, we must find our own place. A painter must have a place for his easel, a writer must have place to sit, and a musician must have a place to practice. Quiet solitude suits many artists just fine while they are working. Other artists like to work in noisy, crowded environments because they find it stimulating. As artists, it is of necessity that we find out what works best for us.

As artists, we must never quit. We must always continue on with our art. The health and livelihood of our very being depends upon it. As artists, we should never pretend not to be artists. We were born to create and we have to respect that. As artists, we should give ourselves time and permission to do what we were born to do…

Dear reader, I want to thank you for reading this week’s column! I will now sign off with our creative quotation for the week, this one from the writer, Mary Oliver: “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

The Art War (and a formal declaration thereof)

When will people awake from the hellish and mindless mire of their infinite consumption and realize that art is just as important, just as necessary (if not moreso) than the Department of Defense, or any standing army? When will it be known that the artist is just as good, just as noble as the soldier, or the priest? Perhaps a communication of the natural necessity and vitality of art shall require a grand, diabolic show of art itself. Imagine a country bombarded, as if attacked from the skies above by the creative expressions of our fellow man – music, sculpture, writing, painting, theater, etc.! Perhaps what this country needs to wake up is for it to be bombed with the explosive power of creativity. Indeed, I am hereby calling for a high 21st century Renaissance – a revolution for the American heart and intellect!

Forget the contemporary art museums. I want to bring the paintings, the sculptures, the beautiful poems and novels (old and new) straight into the public’s backyard. I don’t want anything displayed high upon distant pedestals where no man can touch and prefer to cower….I want a Picasso displayed at the local café. I want to see volumes of Twain, Poe and Rimbaud side-by-side in every bar and restaurant, I want Marcus Aurelius to displace the drowsy Gideon’s bible in every hotel room in America. I want our great commercial billboards to scream – “You are a conscious creature gifted a brain consisting of billions of neurons, use them to create something! It is the noble thing for a human being to do!” I want Macbeth performed in the streets. I want giant zeppelins of art, downing missiles of art, released hydrogen bombs of art…I want America leveled.

What is needed to accomplish this vision is a war of course, primarily because wars (especially in this country) are always well funded, and supported. What is needed is an equivalent of passion – from fear, hatred and xenophobia transmuted into the passion to create – to dance, sing, paint, write, sculpt, make love, and finally, to murder the body of convention. Convention will always be a dead thing, in any case. Convention is a corpse which society constantly drags around by a loose twine wrapped around their ankles, believing it only the necessary etiquette and that there is still life within it. But there isn’t. Convention is a cold cadaver of unimaginative paradigms succored by clenched, anal-tight fists of mindless, wantless, stultified men, struck stupid and lost within the void of total consumer-constriction. A formal declaration is required:

I, Tylor J. Mintz hereby declare a war on the United States of America,

To be launched by the constructive power of creative expression.

Peace shall be achieved only by an open minded surrender!