What does it mean to be an artist? Well, this is what Terence McKenna had to say about artists,
“The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because of the artists, who are self-selected, for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”
So, how do we go about “saving the soul of mankind”? The singular quality of artists to be able to go into a zone where identity and the “all-knowing” ego is completely non-existent is what can help them save humanity. But how does this work? Maybe, the ability to let life flow underneath, without any obstruction to the flow, without the voice in your head obstructing the flow of life with comments like”You are better than this”, and “You can do this easily”, or “You are not made for this”, is what helps artists to separate themselves and weave a reality which they want to.
Art is an interaction between the collective experiences in the human brain, which can also be called the collective memory of all of humanity itself. This means that when artists go into the “zone” that we all talk about, they gain access to the collective memory of all that is or ever was alive, a vast library through which information flows out through the tip of a pen or the bristles of a paintbrush, or even the keyboard of today. Art is the process through which the vast majority of these collective experiences and memories are expressed for all the world to see. To write them down into reality cannot be achieved through logic or even science for that matter, owing to the immense amount of ecstatic stillness that is required for this purpose. Therefore, art has been and continues to be recognized as a means of communicating ideas through the technology of the times. An artistic urge to convey ideas stems from an inward desire to communicate a vision, which in turn is expressed by a backing force of intense brilliance that we have come to call creativity.
It is the very engine which drives the need for complexity, abstraction and ever-flowing need to express things in a subtle and humble way. It is that need which drives you and identifies who you are as a person to yourself as well as to others and keeps you centered. Creating art is not only making an object, it demands exposure and vulnerability. One will truly become an artist when he/she share their creation with the outside world. That requires self-evaluation and self-critique to spend some time thinking about your real goals writing them down; creating an action plan to execute; and objectivity to make a realistic assessment of the quality of the work done to reach the goal, in order to check the possibility of improvement or continued exploration. This exercise will help to determine the level of commitment an artist have to show on his/her work, in relation to the readiness of work. The constant need to better oneself and indulge in self-critical exercises is the mark of an artist, an individual who constantly tries to make a better design of his reality and indulge in creation through the design that he envisions.
“The observer is also the image, only he has separated himself and observes. This observer who has come into being through various other images thinks himself permanent and between himself and the images he has created, there is a division, a time interval.”
As for the work to become an art, it must be experienced by others and the artist must assume the responsibility of making that happen, at whatever cost. Then the necessary reaction breathes life into his/her art and fulfills their original intention of making art. Art is not only a function to please the eyes, but also a constant process of change for perfection. What is really required for that is one’s own gut feeling, constant practice, emotional investment and pure love for his/her creation. The one who has practiced endlessly, experimented forever, and has an open mind as to what the finished product may be, then the new territory will present itself. So be open, be free and be ready for anything that will be willed on you, for what is it but part of the intricate artwork that is life.