Sunday, June 28, 2009

Academic Study, Benefits and Misconceptions

First, let me say that this post is a response to many unrelated but similar comments, criticisms and general attitudes that have come to me recently. I'm not going to take the time to address each of them individually, but I hope to address the general sentiment with just a few ideas.
Academic study has come under some attack as it has gained momentum in recent years. Where is the criticism coming from? From the outside, of course. As is the standard practice of today, those with the least amount of information are the quickest to criticize. We expect that anything that is gaining in popularity will find both its followers and its detractors. But the problem I see here is with all those who otherwise claim to be directly in line with the same beliefs and principles of realist painting that the Academies pursue, only to undermine these institutions that give art students their best chance at producing master works. Let me make it clear that these ideas here stated do not stem from an immature loyalty for any one school, or some brain-washed regurgitation of Academic rhetoric spoon-fed me during my time in the Academy. As much as possible I have tried to leave opinion out of this, leave aesthetics and personal taste to the side, and try, as clearly as I can to discuss the knowledge every artist must have, if he or she hopes to achieve certain things in their art.
I am aware that not every artist wants the same thing. It goes without saying, and thank God it is true. But we are approaching a moment where we might, we just might, have a chance to re-establish standards in art. With all the ridiculous meanderings we have been subject to in the last century, we are finally to that delicate stage where things could change for the better. But the good in art that is fighting and gaining ground against its modernist foes, is being attacked now from behind by a cloaked adversary. One who has claims of being allied to the good, and friendly to its cause, all the while carrying out its traitorous schemes for the sake of monetary gain. And the scary thing is that their nefarious schemes are working and adding strength to the opposition who loves nothing more than further excuse to disregard the good in art. The surest way to lose the fight in re-establishing standards in art is to victimize ourselves with the very weapons modernist have been using for years, those of misdirection and ignorant pontificating banter. The truth is a hard pill to swallow and an even harder thing to keep in sharp focus, especially today. Any and all attempts to stifle the truth will be made by those unwilling to face it. To be confronted by the truth would mean to most the nullification of all their life's work, however meager, and probably the loss of their vocation, and all the false praise, public recognition and financial prosperity that came with it. No wonder they will do anything to keep the truth hidden or at least unrecognizably distorted.
So how do we join the fight to bring the good back to art? Many would say we must let our good work speak for us. We can argue all day long, but in the end the work will either speak for or against us. I believe this is true to a point. But as part of the destruction modernism has had, it has left our contemporary world largely without any understanding or platform on which to stand when trying to judge that work and its merits. We then see artists like Jacob Collins, Graydon Parrish and Adrian Gottlieb being pooh-poohed while other contemporary realists, untrained and unrefined are exalted to skies. The fight for the good then requires that we not only strive to produce masterful work, but that we also fight to educate the public on what the difference is. It is a dangerous gamble we are forced to take, to turn our backs on the fight with modernism and focus our sights on the confrontation with the false ally of contemporary realism.
One thing we must understand is that in the 19th century, when art education was at its peak, knowledge of painting and sculpture had evolved through some of the greatest minds in history from the Greeks, through the Renaissance and on to the Naturalists of the 19th century. Why then is the term "self-taught" so captivating in today's art world? Do we really think that those who ignore the past and reinvent the wheel on their own are more genius than all those of the past combined? Or is it possible to see those "self-taught" artists as they are...children splashing in shallow pools of understanding that were once vast oceans of knowledge. The problems don't stop there. Perhaps the larger problem is not with the ignorance of this mass of painters, but with their arrogant beliefs that those puddles they are splashing in are, in fact, those same oceans the previous masters sailed and successfully navigated across. And I can't place all the blame on them. Truly they don't know any better. I blame them for their feeble and misguided attempts to correct their ignorance, but I don't blame them for thinking and feeling better about their art than they should. There are many outside sources, galleries, critics and museum director's who help create and perpetuate this false sentiment among these artists. Confidence is often gained with recognition and praise, even if that praise is undeserving.
How can we hope to overcome this ignorance then, and understand art enough to fulfill the measure of its creation? We must find a way to adopt ourselves into the conversation that was once so common and is now so rare. To understand something to these depths requires a foundation of knowledge that brings clarity and context to the discussion of art. This context allows for a clearer, more efficient path to that depth of knowledge. This knowledge was so present and pervasive in the 19th century that artists of the time almost inherited it. The wealth that was once vast has been squandered and turned into debt. It is our misfortune today that we inherit that debt and must claw our way out of it. The Academies of today, which directly or indirectly are tied to the methods, curriculum's and thought processes of the 19th century give us the best chance at recovering this knowledge and building this foundation early in our studies, early enough to leave us the necessary time to build a refined understanding on top of that sure foundation. Any other form of art study available to students today, such as Art Center, New York Academy, any University and most workshops lead us through a confused fog of broad and scattered information that forces students of those institutions to somehow try to organize and contextualize that information on their own. It's much like putting a puzzle together without knowing the final image the pieces are meant to create. It is possible to find a place for each piece, but it takes an excessive and unwarranted amount of time to do so. The Academies offer the clarity of the puzzle box cover. There is no special or secret information, just a clarity and depth of information that gives a clearer path to ones goals. No form of personal study will ever take the place of the wisdom imparted by those trained properly before us. Isn't this the very nature of education? Knowledge passed down from master to student that evolves and grows over time? But so many teachers today, most in fact, are poorly trained themselves. All any of them can hope to do is talk about the way they do things. Critiques of an art students work are more often than not "I like this, or I don't like that" with no rhyme or reason or justification behind it. Students even choose schools based on the style of the teachers and the hope that they can pick up to some extent that style or aesthetic. These decisions are made in part because most everyone wants to make art now, to sell art now, to create right now. Study, true study, gets in the way more often than not. We live in a product driven world and our art is no different. Our style-based systems of art education perpetuate this desire in students to produce before they are ready. Students should study. Artists should create. It is my belief that craft precedes artistry, knowledge precedes inspiration, observation precedes invention and a process-based art always yields a higher standard of work.
And as for the criticisms of the Academies and the work that comes from them, let us exercise a little more patience, and a little less deliberate disregard. We are after all, struggling to rediscover, re-connect and regain a knowledge that has been shit on and shunned for nearly a century. Miles Mathis in his essay about the 911 painting by Graydon Parrish writes: "Like the wolf, the commentators on the right have starved themselves into a corner. For them, Modernism is a dead-end, but, because they don’t want to be seen as completely “out of it,” they have accepted, consciously or unconsciously, important parts of the Modernist program. They don’t want to go forward with Modernism on its current track, but they don’t want to go back. They want skill but they also want astounding relevance at all times, by the modern definition. And they will dismiss any realism that does not immediately trump all previous realism (as Modernism claimed to immediately trump all previous art). Hence the absurd comparisons to Raphael. They expect craft and novelty simultaneously. Despite knowing full well that craft in art just underwent a century of obsolescence, they judge new realism by higher standards than old realism. A technical mistake in Rembrandt or Chardin or Goya is easily overlooked, for instance; a similar mistake by a new realist is cause for full dismissal. Many are so keen to prove their knowledge and taste that they can be pleased by nothing...By these standards, there is no future, no hope. The dead-end of the right is just as dead as the left, since although the right appears to have a program based on statable standards, as at The New Criterion, there is no hope of realizing it. Not because it is so high or puissant, but because it is contradictory and confused...He wants craft, but doesn’t want any derivation or historical reversion or political backsliding: he wants a new Leonardo to arrive, fully formed, and updated in all the right ways at once—and he wants this Leonardo to come to him and bow down and ask for anointment from him, the critic. Good luck, Sir."

29 comments:

Sakievich said...

Which standards are you referencing? What are they specifically? What are your criteria for great visual art? Why is someone a subversive heretic if they don't pursue art education in the manner you prescribe?

The 19th century that I've read about, recently and especially the descriptions from Ilya Repin's autobiography describe a very dynamic shifting environment when he was in school in St. Petersburg. The ultimate standard then as it should be now was the compelling vision of the artist.

I do not understand the us vs. them mentality among figurative painters. It's prevalent at my school as well and it's counter productive. The discussions we've had at the school about the history of painting and painting/drawing methods as well as discussions about composition/design have been eye opening about the possibilities of figurative work. So much so that it's given me pause in my own work because I have to reconsider so much. Yet my drawing classes there have largely been a wash. It is my general awareness of my own vision that allows me to make those judgements and see the weaknesses and the strengths and take advantage of them.

Students, without any independent vision and will, too often become zealots of a process that has specific doctrines attached to it. It is easily quantifiable in a specific environment and then any outside introduction or conflicting information is sidelined as being heretical. It allows them to find a kind of success without applying their imagination to their work.

Once again, I don't think that the new academies are bad or should be avoided. I may very well attend one some day. And I often recommend them. There is much to take advantage of in those schools. And even should I never attend one, I have and do and will continue to study independently. Students must be aware of their own vision in order to take advantage of any educational opportunity. Otherwise the education has no real future value.

rsbart said...

Peter, I think we agree more than we disagree. And I agree with you completely about students finding their own voice, and realizing a vision. The problem is, most educational systems are perpetuating the misconception that vision comes first. The concepts are the easy part. Ideas are the cheapest things to come by. They're everywhere. The ability to visually depict the ideas is hugely lacking. And this is why the fight is necessary. It's not a fight between artists, it's a fight to raise awareness among all artists. Most realist artists and art students are still living in a fog. The Academies help clear that fog better than any other institutions. Let's look at the two options...First we have students who study style, composition and concept (searching for a vision) first, who then venture off on their own to find their way on the foundation that system gave them. Then we have students that study at an academy, who study the technical aspects of drawing and painting first, who then venture off to find themselves. Who do you think is more likely to achieve masterful work? My argument is that the technical aspects come first in education, and open the doors t ones own creativity and that the study of style and concept leads to impoverished paintings. This is what we have to fight against. The all too prevalent manner in which art is taught today, which is focused on product far too early in a students career. I see more hope in a well painted straight forward still life than I do in a creative poorly executed composition. Nobody wants to look at polished turds. Actually that's not true. A lot of people like looking at them, only because they don't know the difference. And that is what we have to change. People must know the difference if we ever hope to have art be an elevating part of society again. That is another reason we have to fight against the mediocre in art.

Amy said...

As will be explained later, in connection with academic drawing, it is eminently necessary for the student to
train his eye accurately to observe the forms of things by the most painstaking of drawings. In these school
studies feeling need not be considered, but only a cold accuracy. In the same way a singer trains himself to
sing scales, giving every note exactly the same weight and preserving a most mechanical time throughout, so
that every note of his voice may be accurately under his control and be equal to the subtlest variations he may
afterwards want to infuse into it at the dictates of feeling. For how can the draughtsman, who does not
know how to draw accurately the cold, commonplace view of an object, hope to give expression to the subtle
differences presented by the same thing seen under the excitement of strong feeling?
These academic drawings, too, should be as highly finished as hard application can make them, so that the
habit of minute visual expression may be acquired. It will be needed later, when drawing of a finer kind is
attempted, and when in the heat of an emotional stimulus the artist has no time to consider the smaller
subtleties of drawing, which by then should have become almost instinctive with him, leaving his mind free to
dwell on the bigger qualities. - Harold Speed, The Practice and Science of Drawing. And what better tools to judge such drawings by than the standards of master artists gone by, handed down to their students. If you think you have the knowledge and sensitivity to judge your work with standards as high as those sought in the academies by "independent study" you are dead wrong. Dead wrong. And arrogant. And ungrateful to the past masters who truly figured out a whole hell of a lot.

Pushing Mongo said...

amy being brock in above comment

Sakievich said...

Brock, I'm sorry that you're full of such wrath. It's common among the newly converted. I forgive you and I do actually appreciate the passion. I think you'll find with time, that you're burning more bridges than you're building. Hopefully it won't last too long.

Nothing you've quoted has countered anything I have stated. I doubt, you're even really reading what I've written. I have never said that academic studies are a waste of time. Nor have I said that no one should be taught them. But neither is Mr. Speed the voice of God. I do seem to recall from my youth that simultaneous to the scales we studied, we also learned to play expressively in the music we were expected to perform. Ultimately, as Robert Henri explains in the Art Spirit, all education is self education. Which, as he explains, is up to the student, regardless of his educational situation to use to his benefit. If you'll look through Mr. Speed's book you'll find that he provides many examples of old master painting that do not employ the methods at which alter you worship now. They're still masters. They were masters because they had the genius to extend beyond the limits of their education. There's no filter for who is a great painter, except time. And while some get lost for a period, the great ones rise above that tide. My overall point is that painters who have vision and vigour find those means necessary for the expression of that vision. I have provided examples of those who, in spite of their initial poor education, found means to pursue their interests with great success. If an artist's education includes deep academic study, then so be it, if they employ other means to their end, then so be it. I've seen plenty of evidence of the later, and I hope for the (as yet, largely invisible) potential of the prior. I think the general lack of ambitious work among the teachers and students of the new ateliers is a legitimate concern. As well as is the tendency to look to future generations for this fulfillment, instead of themselves.

Sakievich said...

The major point over which I disagree with Ryan is not the pursuit of accuracy in drawing, but that the imagination (picture making skills i.e. composition) and discussions of potential thematic issues (whether technical like Leffel contends or philosophical or narrative like others do) should be conducted and encouraged simultaneously with the technical development of a student. These are not separate concepts separated by walls of study, but one and the same pursuit. I contend this, because the great painters I respect found their voice because they had vision or were encouraged to find it. I've provided historical examples of this and descriptions of the Russian academy as it was in the latter half of the 19th century, which support this view.

I taught gesture drawing for animators at BYU for several years and often I would get graphic design students in the freshmen class. They felt as if they were being forced to suffer through a figure drawing class needlessly, since there would be little to no drawing involved in their "real" work. Typically this attitude would persist until I showed them how gesture drawing applied to their interests. I showed how they could consider the quick gesture as a study of letter forms and shape making in the abstract relative to graphic design. When they had an actual application for drawing, suddenly the quality of their work jumped as did their interest in the class. The intensive and strict patterns of my class suddenly had meaning and use for them. I think this is a general principle that has broad potential application, because I've seen the effects.

There is no time like the present to explore and to take risks, simultaneously growing in technical facility. Waiting for the flowering of some unknown and unseen future generation is not good enough. It's up to us in the present to make the images that we find compelling. To give it all, now, today. It's a frightening prospect, because we are all well aware of our weaknesses. That capacity to fail and the subsequent actual failures are important tools for learning. What is too often forgotten is that there will always be room for improvement and there is no guarantee for the potential of future work that we are not doing now. There is no future perfect moment for which to wait. Now is all you or I will ever have.

Pushing Mongo said...

It's about a higher standard in art. And of course speed is not the ultimate authority, however his reasoning rings true. Of course artists are able to produce brilliant and beautiful works without intense courses of study, but how much more vitality could they give to that expressiveness if they understood the subtleties and intricacies that make their subject beautiful in reality?

rsbart said...

Hey Peter,
I have to write and say I completely respect your arguments and I appreciate the educated and concise way in which you present them. Sincerely, there is some great things to consider. My final thought, not the final thought, but one last thought until maybe we can get together again, is this: It is difficult to explain something from the inside to someone on the outside. And it is difficult to understand something from the outside looking in. I don't mean to say that all those people who haven't studied at the Academies are outsiders. Not at all what I'm saying. I am just trying to say that without having experienced the Academy from within, it becomes impossible to understand the arguments for Academic Study. But as for the vision part, again, I agree with you mostly. I still believe students should focus on technical mastery first and that this focus frees up the creativity, but I also understand that we don't see a lot out there to support this theory. I don't think we are generations away from seeing this, but more like a few years of maturing. Those that focus on the creative aspects sooner are producing more exciting results at the moment, but I believe that work has a very low ceiling. For most, that immediate and, in my opinion, premature positive recognition, is detrimental to those artists. What they need is to take a step backwards and sure up their foundations. But having recognition almost insures that they will never do that. This is part of the problem with being over anxious to jump into the professional realm too early. I don't want to say too much more. I think it will be fun to hash this out some more when we hang out again.

Sakievich said...

I'll be down that way the end of August and beginning of September. I'll see you then.

Post more work!

graydon said...

Technique is knowledge, and, as with any other profession, its helps creativity. We simply don't know what will help us make new connections. What is certain, is that new ideas don't arrive without experience, practice and a lot of thinking.

As for what the new atelier, classical realist or new realist movement will add, who knows? But what it does do is function as an important devils advocate to the contemporary art scene. If everyone agreed that art should still be ironic, skillless, and still attempt to shock the middle class, then art would become stagnant and more and more mannered. Therefore, it is refreshing (and I would argue necessary today) to look to the past, study the world objectively, appreciate beauty and skill and sincerely celebrate human accomplishment. By doing so, we might come up with the best of both worlds or something entirely unexpected.

Sakievich said...

With this I can absolutely agree.

Joseph Price said...

Ryan,
Can you tell by looking at a piece if the artist is painting below his skill level?

rsbart said...

I'm not sure if you can tell if an artist is painting below his skill level. It seems like that would be a crazy decision to purposely paint worse than your able to. I do think you can see a lot of the thought processes and abilities of the artist in their work. I think you can also see a lot of what artists don't know about drawing and painting.

Joseph Price said...

What if an artist was trained in the tradition you recommend and chose a style that didn't make this fact immediately evident? Would he cease to be a great or respectable painter as a result?
What is your opinion of folk art and Zen art? Both are old traditions, but with different values than you espouse... Do you consider them to be mistaken or inferior?

rsbart said...

Joseph,
I believe there is one thing we can criticize about artists work, and that is the technical aspects of it. Would anyone with training that they honed over years and years choose to go against that training to purposely produce an art that ignores that training? It's possible, but I've never seen it (I'm not saying I've seen everything either). And I'm not saying that the training an artist receives should absolutely dictate the style he chooses to paint in. I'm just saying that a high level of technical proficiency is difficult to achieve, and not using it after obtaining it seems insane to me. Since you asked my opinion on folk and zen art I'll give it to you, but mind you it is only my opinion. I don't think it's mistaken, but I do think it's inferior. I find it extremely important to reestablish standards in art. They used to exist, and they were based on many criteria. But one of those criteria was based on the level of execution the artist exhibited. And that includes his knowledge of drawing, anatomy, perspective, design, composition, value, etc. An art that fails to achieve the highest ideals in any one of these areas can not be held up as against pieces of art that do. That doesn't make other forms of art less relevant, just less masterful. When we fail to recognize the difference between masterpieces and everything else, well we get what we have today, a Jackson Pollack selling for $100,000,000 and Godwards selling for $300,000. Maybe we could argue that arts real value is what people are willing to pay for it. That's true. But people are willing to pay that much for art because of its investment value, which is determined in part by the hype given to one artist and the virtual silence about another artist. Are we to believe that Pollack was a better painter and more deserving of recognition than Godward, or Waterhouse? Anyway, these are ideas that can be heavily debated, but it is what I believe.

Joseph Price said...

In case you didn't recognize my name, I'm the guy who wandered in to your studio with my brother looking for a place to hold a jeans sale a week or so ago. I enjoyed our discussion. Here's a basic question: Since your assertion regarding standards in art is more than an opinion (I believe you referred to other views as "false doctrine" at one time), on what basis does it deserve that status, that of objective fact?

Joseph Price said...

Here's another one: Isn't legitimacy the primary means of establishing standards? If so, how do expect to establish a standard in spite of the prevalence of inferior art AND inferior taste, particularly if that standard is from the past?

What do you see as the role of art in society? How do you see art that is created to your standard as helping to accomplish this role more completely or better than art that is not?

rsbart said...

The "False Doctrine" I referred to was that being taught in art educational systems around the world. When a student is led to bypass the technical aspects of drawing and painting in order to improperly focus on his product too soon, that seems to go against the universal law of education. No one learns complex mathematics before addition, but this is the expectation in art education. That is a false concept.
I don't know if legitimacy is the primary means of establishing standards. Mostly because the establishment is so screwed up in what it finds legitimate. If you read art criticisms from the 19th century, you'll see critics with a level of understanding about art that critics day largely lack. In order to properly reestablish standards I think we have to start with the artists, which is why art education is so important to me. The more artists that are trained properly early on, the more chance they have to positively influence others, dealers, collectors, students, etc. First artists need to know what great art is, and must develop the skills by which they can begin to create it.
I also think that art has the ability to elevate and inspire society. Instead of being a mirror that reflects societal issues, it should be a hammer that shapes them. I think one of the last great artists to do this was Norman Rockwell. What I would say about my standards in art is this: Classical and Natural realism (19th century standards) was the best art the world has ever seen. I'm not excluding Valsquez or Rembrandt, or Goya or Rubens or any other master prior to the 19th century. I'm just using the 19th century as the most consistent time period in art. Why? Because those painters developed the highest degree of technical ability we have ever seen. The most masterful art must start here, while also having a relevant topic that is clearly legible to its audience. Art after all is a visual language that is either clearly stated or it isn't. In order to make art important again in society we must feed the public instead of shun them. We must educate them not only with the most brilliant work we can produce, but also by explaining the difference to them in a way that will bring greater appreciation. The public's inferior taste is a result of years of crappy art being shoved down their throats. Now many of them would rather keep eating the crap even when real food is offered them. I just realized I'm all over the place with these thoughts. I hope they are at least somewhat coherent.

Joseph Price said...

For one thing, a person wouldn't even be able to do the higher math without the basics, yet art still comes out(though you may disagree that it should be considered as such). I guess that leads to this question: Why make art into science? Isn't there a critical role for art that falls out? What is the point of art if it doesn't represent an alternative to the "ivory tower" mentality that pervades the rest of society? Isn't this role one of the primary ways that art aids the human condition? Do you believe that beauty exists without craft?

Joseph Price said...

So the only way education can happen is with a "building blocks" model? How do you figure?

Joseph Price said...

We may try to accurately represent the outward appearance of nature, but doesn't nature's functionality also teach us about the learning process? Doesn't nature grow out of the whole rather than by placing blocks on top of one another as men do? The secrets that art should ultimately manifest can burst suddenly out of that hidden whole. Isn't that whole (God) what we should honor through our art, and not the skill of the artist? Isn't that whole the ultimate source of help for humanity? Doesn't the impulse to rank one another and our gifts profane the process and amount to the rejection of God's work among men?

rsbart said...

We're not trying to turn art into a science, but I am saying that there are principles that govern art just as there are governing principles in math and science. I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you refer to a "building blocks" model of education. Education in every area is a progression. The very nature of education dictates that we begin with the basics and progress through higher degrees of difficulty, until we have mastered all those basics to the point of becoming self sufficient in that area of study. I don't know if I understand your last post at all. But I have heard arguments like this before. I don't want to read it wrong so I'm less inclined to directly respond to it. But I feel like the danger is that we have elevated art above God. Even God is bound by universal law. When we start making excuses for bypassing knowledge, when we try and talk about the 'purity' that can stem from an artists naive reaction to nature, we're in real trouble. We would never trust a doctor who did not have training but had some exciting new theories to test out. We would never hire a lawyer who had seen a few episodes of court TV and decided he'd be a great litigator. Why do we value education so much in these other areas and not in art? Why do we constantly justify ignorance in art? No we're not trying to rank one artist above another, but the art itself must be understood enough to be properly appreciated. Nobody should dictate to someone else what to like or dislike, but it's damaging to classify more primitive art alongside masterworks. It takes awat from everyone's ability to appreciate greatness. Like what you want, but understand the difference. You can even love an art because of its primitive quality. Just don't talk about it in similar terms as Meissonier or Gerome. I think the thing that profanes God's work among men the most is when we treat lightly and with disrespect and disregard its complexities, subtleties, etc. When we fail to put forth the effort of truly understanding these creations in a way that will allow us to emulate their creator.

Joseph Price said...

I think science is a great analogy. The scientist depends on inspiration even though many pretend it is because of the rigors of his training that ideas and solutions come. This is the great secret. The odds of just the right idea emerging at just the right time are astonomically low, yet this is the very backbone of science in spite of the fact that the hardcore scientist presents it as the foolproof alternative to religion. Turns out it's just another manifestation of the mystery that is God's dealings with his children. Let me ask you this: In what human process, would you say, do men come closest to God's creative powers? The obvious answer is in procreation. How much skill does it take?

Joseph Price said...

I should add that science is similarly dependent on mistakes and accidents. Do they play a role in improving your art? Just wondering... You talk about effort a lot. The effort applied to true art doesn't have to be applied to the making of art because true art is a reflection of effort applied to the whole of a person's life. You mention the idea that an "unqualified" artist could bring about similar negative outcomes to an unqualified doctor. Please explain this. It's clear to me that if you waved your magic wand and tomorrow everyone felt as you do that art and beauty are this one thing that only the classically trained could understand, and modern art was exposed as the child's play you feel it is, that modern art would still have a vital role to play because it represents a democratization of creativity and the cathartic and instructive experience of the artist and viewer. This pull toward democracy is an unstoppable cultural force. The bottom line is, we're all creators and we all respond to creativity in a real and powerful way. Creativity does things and the things it does don't depend on the specific kind of training an artist receives. Your view reminds me of the doctor who says "I went to school for 12 years after high school! Your priesthood is a scam! It's all in your head" Yet the cure takes and the recipient's health remains nonetheless. It's almost as if we fear learning that we made a bad investment, that we wasted time, when in actuality the time we took was necessary for us personally and doesn't need to be the standard by which we judge everyone else. What if we find out that life wasn't about becoming preeminent in some field when measured against other people and fraudulent schools of thought in that field. What if we found out that life was about bringing about healing in ourselves and others in the simplest way we could accept, so we could resume the pursuit of wisdom?

rsbart said...

Joseph, there is so much more that needs to be said about all of this. It seems difficult to go back and forth here. I'd like to invite you back to the studio to talk all about it sometime. I think these are hugely important issues and worth further discussion. If you'd like to come, give me a call. 801-822-8802

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Joseph Price said...

Ryan,

I'd love to stop by the studio and visit again. Hopefully soon. Thanks for invitation. I'll let you know...