I’d like to give up a secret. No, not that one. And not that other one you’ve just thought about. This is one little, tiny, inconsequential secret. It’s not even dirty, so it’s borderline boring. See, when I was in school I had to write these essays. And when I had to write them I liked to insert quotes from famous people. Somehow our thoughts seem more significant if someone wise has said something to the same effect. The problem was, I didn’t have much patience for searching for the most fitting quotes. You already know where I’m going with this. Yes, I was writing them myself. Actually, I tried it once and it worked so well, that from that point on, my essays were always decorated with deep thoughts from the great ones.
My teacher liked them to say the least. “Your quotes are great!” she’d tell me excitedly. “Where are you finding them?” But I would only smile back, shrugging modestly.
I don’t remember most of these quotes, and I suspect this a good thing. I’m sure I would find most of them embarrassing now. Nevertheless, I do remember one. For an essay about art I wrote this: “The thought awakened by a work of art is the greatest reward to its creator”. I attributed the quote to Michelangelo. Somehow it seemed fitting.
Now, some moons later, I think that although Michelangelo didn’t really utter these words, he actually might have thought this way. Because this is what it really comes down to. Sure, artists like to be rewarded materially. They are people after all. But deep down every real artist knows that it’s not about money. No money, prizes or media attention can replace a single thought, a single emotion truly awakened by the artwork that you’ve brought into this world. Because when it happens you are the creator. And this feeling is what really makes true artists tick.
The comments and questions I received after publishing Night Flight a few days ago were truly rewarding. I am thankful for all of them. And yet I am not going to answer single one of them. At least not directly. You see, I believe that everything an artist wants to say should be expressed in his art. Be it a song, or a novel, a poem or a movie, it has to be the artist’s best effort to express whatever he feels like expressing. And then it is up to others to interpret and discuss, love or hate, adore or ignore. As for the artist, he’d better focus on his next project.
This isn’t arrogance. No, it’s something quite the opposite. Your ideas are as important as mine. Your emotions are as important as mine. It doesn’t matter what I meant when I was creating imagery of Night Flight. It only matters to me. As for you, it’s your thoughts that should count. True art bypasses logic and goes straight to emotions. And if I succeed at awaking a thought it is my reward. After all even Michelangelo thought so.