A Secret, a Thought and Michelangelo

Posted: April 28, 2010 in art

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.

  1. psychicsarah says:

    Not surprised cos my theory is that Night Flight can’t actually be analysed. Its a stream-of-consciousness poem…

    Its very evocative and cinematic (for me the best bits are the red flowers!)

    Its a dreamscape put into words


  2. Jennifer78 says:

    Although I love quotes, especially funny ones, this reminded me of one in particular…

    “Quotation is a servicable substitute for wit.” – Oscar Wilde

    No wonder you were able to pull it off, Mr. Buonarroti. 😉


  3. Spoken like a true artist (and writing is an art);)


  4. Angela Miller says:

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I took a poetry writing class last semester. And my Professor was always like change this or that so YOUR meaning is more clear,more obvious. I prefer to write a bit more ambiguously as to open to interpretation for more people and so that they can insert personal experience or feeling to personalize the experience.

    Art, though created beautifully by it’s creator, takes on a life of it’s own once “given to the world” to see/read/hear. That’s when it’s true greatest is achieved. When it means all sorts of things to all sorts of people. That’s just my thoughts on it.

    “True art bypasses logic and goes straight to emotions. ” << Love that


  5. Jolanda van Ammers says:

    Very short comment from me. About making up quotes: Your as bold as brass, I see. Cool. And furthermore, I agree with you.


  6. Philmcrkin says:

    I enjoy your writing, your process and your thoughts on both. I like your energy. I get what you’re talking about here! The cryptic stuff, yeah, I don’t get that as much… :)I’m still going to try!

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. Thank you for sharing and providing me with unexpected reminders and inspiration.


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