Blogging As Art.

August 10, 2008 at 11:23 am | Posted in links, writing | 22 Comments
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Whilst I would like to earn a living doing what I enjoy (who wouldn’t?) I have no desire to be personally famous, (which explains the mystery man (haha) act), but I am committed to doing what I can to preserve a tradition, a noble part of human achievement. Art, the idea that is possible to create. And the artist, that there is a subgenre of the human who are artists. (Oh and then duck as the accusations of arrogance and ‘we are all artists creating our own lives’ and yes yes but I am not being metaphysical. I am saying that some people are artists and some aren’t, the same way some people are doctors and some aren’t, some people are prisoners and some aren’t.)

Is there redemption in Art? Does Picasso’s Guernica redeem in someway the suffering that created it? Are the people who died redeemed in it by having their moment recorded in a way that magnifies and articulates so that it is burned into the consciousness of the species? Is Walt Disney the embodiment of evil for turning the deepest roots of memory, folk tales, into advertisements for middleclass American consumerism?

As for the iPod I can understand their desire to have music injected straight into their brains all the time but I suspect this is only so they never have to think. Perhaps every time they think about themselves in the world they get scared or nauseated or depressed or lonely. What kind of a world have we created? Perhaps art is a reclamation of freedom in as much as it asserts that communication is possible. That is certainly what I have tried to achieve here, to make a place in the world where freedom, communication, creation, meaningful art, is at least a possibility. And where people are respected for what they do, what they create.

An artist must be just as motivated to the act of destruction, change and revolution as they are to the notion of creation. Art is not supposed to be passively recording or endlessly describing yourself. It is supposed to be an active force in the world. But until you say, alright, I am going to call myself an artist, I am going to claim that what I am doing is utilising certain learned skills and devices (craft) in creating a work of art, until you do that and risk the constant accusations of arrogance, like Picasso, like Oscar Wilde, like Byron, take an actual risk of complete and utter and humiliating failure, until then the world will remain as it is,


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  1. gingatao, magnificent. leaves me breathless, gives a reason to dream there is a dog, there is there is
    Thanks, Tipota. You are a magnificent writer yourself, your surreal expositions are mindblowing,

  2. yes. and, oh yes,


  3. There is no redemption for suffering, but if art keeps the reminder of that suffering alive, then it at least contributes, and shows willing to assuage the pain. Art is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine of learning go down. It stimulates our senses and our intellect, evokes and provokes us to make associations and assumptions, and to follow them down all their many paths. Long live art, and I wish like hell someone would pay me to make it.
    Yes, Z, that was the most contentious point, whether art has a redemptive value. I am sure it does personally for the artist and I want it to have some redemptive power for the species. Redeemed by the few wonderful things we make as opposed to condemned for all the horrors we have made as a species, but that is a point that is going to require a definition of what it is to be redeemed. Thanks hugely for your input.

  4. I agree with Z that art is about reminding rather than redemption.

    You’re very right about i-Pods too.
    Hello, Juliet. I am going to have work on this idea of Art as a redemptive force. I would like it to be true,

  5. EversoYes. destruction is part of creativity (we may not have these concepts accurate yet but that’s the mortal deal, hey?) it’s all there to be risked. it should be risked, whatever “it” is.

    maybe it’s integrity, maybe it’s personal honour – and maybe that’s why artists are the first to be done away with when tyranny’s stomach growls hunger for more

    re-minding, re-calling – whatever name it’s given – art’s a trigger … so don’t expect the Suits to pay artists to do anything other than disappear, preferably from starvation, that way it’s their own fault! artists are easily done away with – their own nature is passionately self-destructive, easy to apply labels like “mad” or “bad” then and shuffle them into the exclusion zone …

    maybe it’s simplistic to say the personal is political, it’s a toothless cliche these days, manipulated into a conceptual parody … but Suits well know how affectively powerful words can be, right?

    when crafted purely, words are more than words .. they’re activist images of power and intention …
    Wonderfully inspirational, Shell. A fellow revolutionary, let us storm the veneer barricades together,

  6. Z said it all perfectly…
    This is a great post Paul.
    Thanks, Simonne,

  7. Hey don’t blame the iPod 😦 … It is a handy device for music, and a handy explanation for silence. I often plug it in my ear without switching it on so I can think without having to make small talk

    As far as art goes, I agree, there is far too much obssession with the artist and far too little with the art itself… its annoying and hard to break away from ….
    Haha, yes I was little overstating my case with the iPod and I agree entirely with your point about the art and the artist. I suspect it is part of a wider cultural obsession with the ‘cult of personality’

  8. I am in complete agreement with you Paul. It is my belief that at this point in human history it is only the artists who can save the world. Only that person who seeks to express a deep personal vision of a world that contains beauty, hope, truth and connection. It is the artists who utilizes the imagination to promote a higher vision of themselves and humanity- this is why your efforts upon this blog are an honest and creative attempt to heal the world. It is a noble activity- but it would be nice to be paid for our noble acts!

    It was Oscar Wilde who said that the greatest work of art was ourselves. How we live our lives and choose to be- this is the greatest art form (Wilde called it character art).

    p.s….I am going to continue to maintain Absurdistry. I love it too much to let go.
    That is beautifully put, Randall. So are you abandoning the new one? I will have to go and adjust all the linkages and feeds again. Never mind. I certainly understand the desire for radical change but I don’t understand why people would let go of a URL instead of just changing everything under it. I shall go fiddle with buttons again,

  9. […] Tagged art, creativity, destruction, passion in a deliciously strange way this poem was inspired by gingatao’s post on art and passion. you can find it here […]
    Thankyou, Shell, that was a beautiful linkage to wonderful poem. I used to have an RSS widget in the sidebar that automatically returned all links but Google smacked my hand. Put these pingback are cool. They only come from other WordPress blogs I think but your poem is a fantastical dance with a gentle ending,

  10. [referring to your commenting with Z, mainly] i guess i think the redemption in suffering is understanding and that art is the expression of what the pain has done (art the spacial depiction of the war to understand)
    art gives hope to a world that only feels despair. it gives wonder and liberty to wander into parts of one’s mind that may otherwise have been locked away without light (for those, even, who are not artists).
    i am priveleged to know your thoughts Paul, on this matter. you struck a chord for me here,
    “Perhaps art is a reclamation of freedom in as much as it asserts that communication is possible. That is certainly what I have tried to achieve here, to make a place in the world where freedom, communication, creation, meaningful art, is at least a possibility. And where people are respected for what they do, what they create.”
    blogging as art,
    it does something for all of us, doesn’t it?

  11. can you believe i did it again Paul? lol, i forgot to log in. that was my comment above, pardon me.
    Haha, I knew it was you, Mrs Ott, who else would write such a beautiful comment,

  12. Sorry for the confusion. I will maintain two blogs since one is rated as mature and does not allow me many options to publicize. Maybe I am being too ambitious with this blogging thing- but I am trying something different.
    Change is always cool. I think I have the buttons sorted, rage on Randall, haha, hands on keyboard,

  13. this is absolutely inspirational for me to read today. i needed to hear this. thank you.
    Cool, inspiration bounces around. I wrote it right after reading your post, so thankyou too, Meander,

  14. You have inspired me to try and be a better blogger.
    And you have done the same for me Paul.

  15. paul (hello, gingatao!) is always inspiring me to be a better blogger…
    Art Predator, boom boom, boom boom, my heart always beats faster around you, like the Jaws music,

  16. I can attest to using this diversion:

    As for the iPod I can understand their desire to have music injected straight into their brains all the time but I suspect this is only so they never have to think.

    How much do I have to pay to spy a pic of you in the infamous studded denim shirt, pray tell…
    Hello, my queen. I think I may post another photo soon but whether it will be in the denim shirt or a gingaTao Tshirt, I’m not sure. Which would look better with snakeskin leather boots, do you think?

  17. You’ve hit on a very important issue, an issue that I’m always debating with my friends. I read some where that art has no place in economics, and I completely agree with this. Just look at the image of the “artist” in pop culture. It’s an image of industry, selling everything from clothing to floral arrangements, and there’s no sort of interest about the art itself, and how it can be used to create change for the better, how it can ignite thought, discourse, movement, dance. Artist today, and I’m speaking about the music industry, spend more time trying to accumulate wealth rather than thinking about the quality and substance of their next record. It’s an industry for the individual artist rather than a means to mobilize the people. Maybe that’s part of the problem that art doesn’t belong to the people when it should be. It should be free. But of course the artist has to eat, and what about the value of the work and the time put into it, is it somehow depreciated because it’s free for everyone to enjoy, to participate in? But this is how it all starts, attaching a dollar sign next to a piece of work.
    Everybody else gets paid for their work, truck drivers, politicians, accountants, bank robbers, all get paid. Artists provide something valuable to society just like any other worker, so I wonder why artists should be expected to give their work away.

  18. What do you mean by redemption? Does the word have Christian connotations for you? These aren’t loaded questions, just curious.

    I read that Picasso lived through an earthquake in Andalusia as a child (Alice Miller). I wonder if Guernica also links back to those times. He does reflect the suffering of war.

    You bring up so many ideas. I think the best part of your essay is that it makes people think about what they are doing when they blog, or post items, or whatever it is they share with others.
    Yes, Christine, you have cut to the point. It is a word that needs a good definition before I can make any more assertions. I am working on it.

  19. I think I wasn’t very clear in my comment. I’m in know way promoting or expecting artists to give away their rights to their works. Ideally, in a more socialistic structure their wouldn’t be a need for the vultures in suits who aren’t invested in art but in making a buck, and art would be determined for itself and not on how many sales it made in a quarter.
    Cocoyea, you rock! I am hanging out for my CD to arrive. And I agree with you one million per cent.

  20. Just wanted to add, I saw the latest Batman movie a while back where the Joker says “If you do something well, don’t do it for free”

    Im going with Amen 🙂
    Amen, indeed,

  21. very profound, paul. i love the ideas you bring to the light in this. fantastic.
    Thanks, Lissa!

  22. I so seriously would want to be able to honestly say that too… but if I’m not famous and people don’t know whom I am, how will they buy my stuff?

    …I’m as far from being altruistic as you possibly can without tipping the scale to egotistic instead… 😀

    …keep reading the old posts. You might find something you’ll like!
    Ahh well that explains your participation in the Authonomy popularity contest. A competition to be famous will almost always result in a social networker winning rather than a writer. Writers on the whole tend not to be great at social networking, so we can assume that it won’t be the best writer who wins. People should buy your stuff because your stuff is good and as a result of that you become famous. Nowadays people become famous for being famous and then use that to sell anything. Oh well,

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