Art and Suffering

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  • Ansan

    #31
    Great post and wonderful discussion. This "subject" is one that has been deliberated throughout the ages and for my entire life. Questions such as "Is it Art" and "Is it useful" are all about talking, the next level down from communication. From my point of view, Art (with a big A) is communication of the highest form. Art is music, 2D and 3D and 4D visuals, dance, sculpture, literature... It is a creative, original and powerful communication that reaches everyone on different levels even if we live inside a cave with no outside human intervention, listening to Philip Glass or Freddie Mercury while admiring the cave paintings on the wall and writing a novel or autobiography or a poem. While dancing. Is Art necessary? Is communication necessary? Art is accidental and transcendent. Within the absolute, it is universal to all. For me, when I do art, I too do it for joy...especially for joy...for celebration, to communicate. Subject matter doesn't matter. We are all artists when we are honest, just like we are all buddhas (buddhas with a little b). Little begets big...sometime. I think we all should have a cup of tea and dance. My take on this? Yeah, it is not only necessary but crucial to our existence. How else would we have communicated with the artists at Lascaux?

    Gassho
    Ansan

    SatToday
    Last edited by Guest; 04-15-2015, 10:45 PM.

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    • Byokan
      Treeleaf Unsui
      • Apr 2014
      • 4288

      #32
      Hi All,


      Fascinating discussion. Ansan, I agree with you, you said it beautifully, art is communication. It’s not just a pastime of luxury. Ansan mentioned the cave paintings. This brings up the point that making art seems to be an elemental part of being human. Drawing pictures on cave walls of the animals and plants that are important to us, or telling the story of the hunt in a dance around the fire, or carving a stick into a fertility figure, or arranging rocks in a circle... We’ve been making art for a long time, across all cultures and circumstances. Art says, I was here in the world, look, listen, touch, let me share my impressions, my skills, my values, my fears, my hopes; connect with me. Art says, you are not the only one, you are never alone. We can connect across distance, across language barriers, and even across time.

      Gassho
      Lisa
      sat today
      展道 渺寛 Tendō Byōkan
      Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

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      • Jinyo
        Member
        • Jan 2012
        • 1957

        #33
        Lisa and Ansan - beautifully put.

        Thank you

        Gassho

        Willow

        Sat today

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        • Stev
          Member
          • Jan 2011
          • 54

          #34
          Art is a luxury for the few that have the time and freedom to perform/create it. Yes we have paintings on cave walls but how many?, Just a handful in the whole world. I live in a valley of what would have been a stone age village with many caves and a clean water source. Neanderthal man has been proved to have lived here yet there are no cave wall paintings here. I would hazard a guess for the amount of cave dwellers there may have been to the amount of cave paintings discovered we are speaking of a ratio of 100s of thousands to one. That is one artist in every over a hundred thousand cave dwellers, why would that be? Well life was very hard then.
          We are lucky , we have the wealth and time and freedom to personally express our our creativity, it is a joy to do but though i do not completely agree with Maslow's hierarchy of needs he argues art (self actualisation) is the last thing we need !!
          MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds.svg.jpg
          Last edited by Stev; 04-16-2015, 09:31 AM.

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          • Jishin
            Member
            • Oct 2012
            • 4820

            #35
            Hi,

            Art is a word.

            Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

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            • RichardH
              Member
              • Nov 2011
              • 2800

              #36
              Originally posted by Stev
              Art is a luxury for the few that have the time and freedom to perform/create it.
              This would be the case for dabblers. Speaking from direct experience both as a self-taught artist with a 30 year career, and someone intimate with the art scene in my city. "Art" and art making is not a luxury, it can be for some, but not for a serious artist. In my case it was a calling from childhood, identical with, and an expression of, the deepest spiritual yearning, and the faculties associated with that. It is joy and it was no choice. It was not entered from a place of privilege, but literally from the gutter of homelessness. It gave life meaning and ended up providing dignity and livelihood. If anything it has been a middle class lifestyle with middle class financial pressures that have exhausted my creative impulse ... the pressure of success.

              It may be pretentious to get too heavy about art, but it is also superficial and cynical to dismiss it as a cultural topping like whipped cream. At this point I don't care what people think...to be honest, but I do feel it should be said that serious (by serious I mean a deep long term discipline in skill development) art is not for anyone, and very rare... to be honest, very rare. The fact that much art is mediocre, and that there can be much self indulgent wanking put forward as "ART" should not stop people from looking into the serious, beautiful, and profound traditions from around the world.

              Gassho.

              Daizan

              sat today
              Last edited by RichardH; 04-16-2015, 12:42 PM.

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              • Stev
                Member
                • Jan 2011
                • 54

                #37
                You are correct I am cynical about everything including art. Though I do not believe, or maybe ,I do not want to believe I am being superficial. I just believe real poverty, and I don't mean the freedom, the fun poverty of a young artist sofa surfing, is to art what your mum sitting watching you and your girlfriend is to sex. It is not a rant against a class or a protest against the rich. I just believe, and so did Maslow, that certain things need to be in place in our lives before we can express our creativity.


                sat today

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                • Rich
                  Member
                  • Apr 2009
                  • 2603

                  #38
                  Everyone is involved in art, because life is an art. "long term discipline and skill development" for enjoyment in my case has been applied to athletics. Art in motion.

                  Sat today
                  _/_
                  Rich
                  MUHYO
                  無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                  https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

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                  • Kokuu
                    Treeleaf Priest
                    • Nov 2012
                    • 6792

                    #39
                    I just believe, and so did Maslow, that certain things need to be in place in our lives before we can express our creativity
                    Have you ever read the poetry pages in The Big Issue, Stev? I get the feeling that the homeless people who write there don't have everything they need but seem to find great solace in expressing how life is for them.

                    Being able to express feelings through art seems to be a very human need. Probably not higher than food, housing or oxygen but that will not exclude the majority of human beings either now or during the course of our history. Many indigenous tribes live a hunter-gatherer life much like our stone age ancestors yet tribal art, songs, dance and textiles are pretty much universal. The level of affluence necessary really isn't very high. Art may not be a priority for the very very poor but that really doesn't make it only available to the rich. The fact you can make art using just a stick and knife, your voice or a pile of rocks means it is something that is available to most people in the world in some shape or form.

                    To be honest, some modern art (Tracey Emin's bed, Damien Hirst's formaldehyde shark) makes me cynical too. It does seem like some rich kids playing with things for attention. That is just my projection onto the situation though. If I like the art I am probably going to be more generous and the fact it isn't important to me doesn't mean it doesn't have meaning for others.

                    Gassho
                    Kokuu
                    #sattodayp

                    p.s. for non-UK folk, The Big Issue is a magazine written by homeless people and sold by them for a small profit.
                    Last edited by Kokuu; 04-16-2015, 04:12 PM.

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                    • Byrne
                      Member
                      • Dec 2014
                      • 371

                      #40
                      Stev,

                      i hear what you're saying about class, poverty, and pretentiousness. However, look at the creative output of the victims of slavery or the holocaust. And where exactly are the artless societies?

                      gassho

                      sat today

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                      • Meishin
                        Member
                        • May 2014
                        • 805

                        #41
                        This is a very interesting thread. It fits so well with battles that are being waged in state legislatures (in the USA) over the curriculum/priorities for public schools. Similar arguments. Those who would relegate art classes to the dust bin appear to be winning. It's a very old discussion. IMO neither "side" will be convinced by the other. Just to say, one of my best friends is a wonderful and talented painter in Spain who is dirt poor. However he does have adequate oxygen.

                        Gassho
                        Meishin
                        Sat today

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                        • Stev
                          Member
                          • Jan 2011
                          • 54

                          #42
                          Meishin, I am just trying to defend art as the product of joy, inspiration and creativity, and not the product of suffering, I am just trying to point out suffering, and poverty being suffering is an art killer. Please explain which 'side' I am in your foreign country's argument about school curriculum. And by the way we have a poor peasant existence here in Spain ourselves and yet all our needs are met. Poverty in Spain in a village where everyone knows everyone is not the poverty of hunger, people take care of each other here.

                          Byrne . I have to confess something to you. When I read what I have described here as pretentious I was kind of not telling the truth, I was in fact f*****g enraged!!! A couple of days ago was the anniversary of the allies getting to Belsen, Just by luck I saw this just before reading this poet's romanticising of suffering and it enraged me, so here is a challenge, please show me the art of the suffering of Belsen I am sure it exists online. Why ask me where are the artless societies??? Show me the societies without the rich ruling the poor, Show me the societies that are really free. show me the societies where there is no hunger, show me the societies where everyone has a home. Show me the societies where they do not realise how well off they are. Show me the societies without censorship.

                          Kokuu,
                          Ok I don't think one can equate poverty with a tribal system that has worked for centuries. Yes they may not have ipads and tvs but they have a sustainable life that gives them what they need, And that is what I am saying , when your needs are met then you can create, dance, smile. When those needs are not met, it is not impossible to 'do' art it is just far more difficult and less likely. If one has no self esteem how do you express your creativity in art without the confidence of your self?

                          As for the homeless I used to be part of a group squatting council buildings in Oxford to house the homeless, we homed up to 40 people at any one time. This was my choice, I enjoyed the lifestyle, in fact it ended up with my going to uni to study law as we were in the courts so much. I never saw one person do any art in the three years we were active, not one. They were always more occupied with getting their clothes clean, getting sleep, recovering, then going back out into the world from the base we provided to find jobs. With a roof over their heads they could keep their jobs and earn enough to go out and rent their own places. Now I am sure once in their own pads with their lives on track they began to express their creativity but I never saw it when they were homeless. We were called Equality.

                          sat today
                          Last edited by Stev; 04-16-2015, 05:58 PM.

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                          • RichardH
                            Member
                            • Nov 2011
                            • 2800

                            #43
                            Originally posted by Stev
                            You are correct I am cynical about everything including art. Though I do not believe, or maybe ,I do not want to believe I am being superficial. I just believe real poverty, and I don't mean the freedom, the fun poverty of a young artist sofa surfing, is to art what your mum sitting watching you and your girlfriend is to sex. It is not a rant against a class or a protest against the rich. I just believe, and so did Maslow, that certain things need to be in place in our lives before we can express our creativity.




                            sat today
                            The poverty I spoke of destroyed my family, killed my father ( he died panhandling) , and left me a choice between prostitution and drug dealing to survive. So do not be to quick with assumptions.

                            As for cynicism , I believe it is best to let Manjushri kill it on the spot. It is of no benefit . But I'm just a student here so that is that .


                            Don't make assumptions about who you are talking to... Who they are and how that have lived..

                            Just don't...

                            I'm done here


                            Gassho
                            Daizan
                            Sat today

                            Comment

                            • Stev
                              Member
                              • Jan 2011
                              • 54

                              #44
                              Daizan
                              I have no idea what you are talking about I didn't refer to your poverty at all???? I didn't assume anything please explain???

                              Comment

                              • RichardH
                                Member
                                • Nov 2011
                                • 2800

                                #45
                                You were responding to my post in which I shared about entering art from a homeless condition. You went on to generalized about faux artist poverty.
                                The characterization is so sweeping, so general . ... How on earth can I reduce artists, or any grouping of people to such a caricature? I cannot.


                                This discussion is interesting but Art isn't mine to defend and people will do what they do regardless. What catches my attention is cynicism.
                                When there time it would be good to have a discussion about that.

                                Gassho
                                Daizan

                                Sat today


                                Originally posted by Stev
                                Daizan
                                I have no idea what you are talking about I didn't refer to your poverty at all???? I didn't assume anything please explain???

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