Monday, October 20, 2014

An Infinity of Perspectives

Illustration: Morning Moon by John Hopper, 2014.

Personal perspective is always of prime importance to the artist. How an individual artist views the world around them, and how that individual artist then interprets that view through their work, is one of the fundamentals of the creative world, always has been, and always will be.

However, it would be right to say that there is an infinity of perspectives. This viewpoint becomes more apparent when you realise the true scope of perspective. To confine perspective to the human experience for example, is to realise the narrowness of our perspective as a species. When perspective is widened to the experience of all creatures, regardless of species, and then widened even more to include earth, sky, water, perspective becomes infinitely broad, and complex, with each perspective being one facet of a multi-faceted jewel that is life in its entirety. 

If you then bring everything back down to the one human experience, the one individual perspective, important as that is, as are all perspectives, it can be seen that that uniqueness is one but one flavour, one subtle taste of the staggering complexity of the lifer force that is us all. 

Illustration: Midday Moon by John Hopper, 2014.

What can be seen from this is that no perspective has precedence over another; all have equal value, no matter how oppositional they may at first appear to that of our own perspective. 

There is a school of thought that says that without perspective nothing exists, that perspective is existence and lack of perspective is a lack of existence. This implies that the unique experience of any entity whether it be rock, dragonfly, water, tree, human, is capable of projecting an environment as they perceive it through their unique experience, and that consequently every entity produces a unique and individual world that they inhabit.

So if in many respects perspective is the individual, what happens when you change your perspective, as many do, are you then a different individual. If you change your perspective a number of times over your life path, are you then a series of individuals with unique perspectives that occupy the same life?

As there is perhaps no such thing as an absolute truth, there is perhaps no such thing as an absolute perspective, just a complexity of experience, an interweaving of every entity's perspective, producing a delicate web, a web that gives the potential for an infinite number of interchangeable experiences. 

Illustration: Evening Moon by John Hopper, 2014.

This potential for the sharing of experience can perhaps best be summed up in the old story of the man dreaming that he is a butterfly. When he wakes he wonders whether he had been dreaming that he was a butterfly, or is he a butterfly that is now dreaming of being a human. Each perspective, butterfly or human are of equal worth and of equal value, they are just different perspectives on their own worlds.

Of course, if you disagree with what I have just written, which would be the world seen from my perspective, then your disagreement would be part of your own unique perspective. However, agreeing, partially of fully, could also be part of your perspective. Whatever the outcome, your full perception of the world is your own. It is part of your life journey and should never be considered of less importance than that of another.

The life of a creative artist is complex and multi-layered, but it is one that should always contain the element of sensitivity, the sensitivity to understand that there is always more than one perspective, always more than one way of seeing the world. To be able to place yourself in the realm of a butterfly, or the realm of a bird, ocean, sky, tree, or fellow human is to understand empathy. To try to see through the perspective of another is a step towards that ultimate sharing of experience, the ultimate infinity of perspectives.

Further reading links:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Inspirational Issue 1 is Published!

Illustration: Front cover of issue 1 of Inspirational, 2014.

Today sees the release of Inspirational. The first issue is on sale and features the inspirational and aspirational work of the artists: Elizabeth Bunsen, Melanie Ferguson, Louise O'Hara, Shannon Weber, Jude Hill, Dietmar Voorwold, Amy Genser, Joanie Gagnon San Chirico. Each of the eight articles featuring the artists and their work looks at how each individual perceives the world around them and how that perception in turn feeds the ultimate projection back on to the world, through the artist's work.

This is the first issue of a regular project that looks to feature the best in contemporary creative art. Inspirational is meant to be a valued addition to the creative arts media that already exists, but it is also unique in wanting to show another facet of what it is to be a creative individual, and what it is to see the world through that unique perspective.

Illustration: Sample pages from issue 1 of Inspirational, 2014.

Inspirational has been purposely produced in a downloadable format so that it can quickly and easily be downloaded from anywhere on the planet, it also helps to save some trees, and that has to be a good thing for everyone.

Inspirational is in a PDF format, so can be easily opened and read either on a computer using Adobe Reader, or through a tablet using a PDF app. All of this information and more is available on the dedicated Inspirational page where issue 1 can be reached, purchased, and downloaded from HERE. Alternatively, the dedicated Inspirational page can always be reached by going to the tab at the top of this page immediately under the banner heading.

Illustration: Sample pages showing part of the article featuring the work of the artist Amy Genser from issue 1 of Inspirational, 2014.

Although the price is in US dollars, any and every currency is automatically accepted and converted without you having to do anything but click.

Please enjoy this first issue of Inspirational. It has been a lot of hard work, but has definitely been something I believe has been worthwhile doing. 

The next issue of Inspirational featuring a new set of inspirationally and aspirationally unique artists and their perspective will be on sale in January 2015. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Empathy and Connectedness with Nature

Illustration: Small transient homage to nature. Photo taken by John Hopper, 2014.

When I personally walk within the natural environment, I hear the trees swaying in the breeze, hear the water rushing over boulders, the complexity of bird song, and the flitting buzz of insects, I can always sense a continual presence beneath all the layers of sound, a foundational manifestation of nature, one that exudes that quiet, stillness, rest, being. It often appears as if the long struggle of life is just the struggle for that one moment of being, the stillness, the being at rest, contentment with the moment of being.

Life, in whatever capacity, is full of mystery and full of never-ending revelations. Sometimes revelations show themselves through their staggering complexity, such as through the visions of microbiology, but often they are shown through their utter simplicity, such as the silent flap of a butterfly wing. Each and every one is valid and each and every one goes to make up the whole. Perhaps in many respects, complexity and simplicity mirror each other, sharing and complimenting the same process that is nature.

Illustration: Autumn tree against blue sky. Photo taken by John Hopper, 2014.

We all discover the natural world in our own way, our paths are varied beyond reckoning, and even though they are paths that have been well trod by others, they are unique to us. Even though the path of discovering nature is one that can never really appear to be original, to each and every one of us the path is always new, always unused, because every path of discovery, every path towards creativity, every path of revelation, is a new and untried path for that particular individual. It does not matter how many people have walked what many would see as the identical path, they are mistaken, as there is no such thing as an identical path, and no matter how many generations have gone before you, or how many generations will come after you, your unique path will still be special and unique to you and your moment in time.

In many ways, the natural rhythm of life reminds us of the dichotomy that produces the impermanence and continuation of life. The dual nature of brief single lives and the never-ending continuity of the framework of life, the never-ending cycle, is a legacy we all share, irrespective of whether we are human or butterfly, whale of raven, giant redwood or amoeba. All are part of the wonderful consciousness, an intimate member of a framework that encompasses everyone and everything. It is this acknowledgement, consciously or unconsciously known, intellectually or emotionally perceived, that fuels the creative artist in us all. 

Illustration: Cobweb highlighted with morning dew. Photo by John Hopper, 2014.

One of the unique tools and driving ambitions of what it is to be human is to find the means to express the wonder of perception, that we are part of a greater and wondrously diverse consciousness than just that of ourselves. Whether we express this understanding through dance, music, the written word, through fine art, craft, design, or decoration, outward expression is often a need and a must, rather than something to fill an empty afternoon. The drive to express ourselves in whatever nature suits us best, is not one of vainglorious remembrance, an ego-driven need to be remembered past this life time, it is one of mirroring the understanding, projecting the perception that life is much deeper a dimension than we are often led to believe in our human-centric world. We are wondrous souls, whether we are participating artists or not, we have a deep dimensionality to us that is staggeringly vast, complex, and unmistakeably wondrous.  

Life, if seen as a reality, is rich and curious, multi-levelled and complimentary, it dynamically and vibrantly resonates with the vibrations of everything and everyone, but more importantly, would be lessened without that particular and unique vibration of that individual that is you.

Further reading links:

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Artist Statement

Illustration: Paul Klee. 'Schlamm Assel Fisch', 1940.

Recently, I have come across a number of individuals within the creative community asking how necessary the artist statement is, with a number decrying the whole effort of producing an artist statement as a pretentious episode, stating that it should be unnecessary, as the work itself should suffice. That to me is a mistake. Reading an artist statement to me personally, is the second thing I do after checking their artwork at a website. The two to me are intimately and irrevocably linked. To understand the personal headspace of an artist is to understand their work. If you do not have an inkling as to their personal perspective, you lose so much.

The artist statement is ultimately a personal statement, which is something we should be aware of. Critics of the artist statement maintain that it is a lesson in pretentious self-promotion, but to many it is a simple explanation. It can literally be as simple as placing a piece of artwork on a wall and someone asking, "What's that all about then?" and you explaining.

Illustration: Liubov Popova. 'Spatial Force Construction', 1920.

I do understand that underlying the confusion and criticism of the artist statement, are differences in perspective, differences even in methods of work. Practical designers for example, may not see the point of producing an artist statement, but I still believe that all creative individuals should produce one irrespective of whether they are a designer or an artist. It is really a message of intent for the world at large.

Whatever the personal opinion regarding statements, I do think that artists should be taken seriously, and genuinely. The artist statement is not something to be sneered at, treated with derision, or contempt by others. It does not have to be long, complex, and deeply meaningful, but if it is, then that should be seen as the prerogative of the individual artist, and not the judgement of others. Personally, I think everyone on the planet should create some form of personal statement as to who they are, what their personal perspective is, where they are wanting to go on their life journey, but then perhaps that is what social media is for.

Illustration: August Babberger. 'Bildausschnitt', 1928.

As to the artist statement specifically, it is a statement of intent, a statement of sensibility. It is, in word form, their understanding of the world around them. It is their perspective on life; it gives others an insight into that perspective, and a subsequent understanding of the ultimate projection of that understanding, their artwork.

An artist statement should always be approached with honesty and without fear of ridicule. Ridicule is the clumsy tool of the misinformed, the frightened, and the bewildered. Ridicule can hurt, but studiously ignored it is surprising how ineffectual it becomes.

Above all, an artist statement is a message of being, that is transposed to the outside world. This is me, you are saying, and this is my creative journey. Share this with the world and you share the core of who you are as an individual and as an artist.

Further reading links: