Great Big Tool

August 22nd, 2022

Like a spare key put someplace forgotten, artists can spend their entire lives looking for what it is that makes good art.

They go to school for art, attending art classes. They read about making art, and then talk about their art readings. They are taught how art makes people feel, and then talk about their art feelings.

They learn the rules to art and then change the way they do art to make their art more legal. They ask people what they think of their art and, consciously and sub-, their process for creating art reacts to their audience’s reactions.

I am no expert; however, I have found the key and it is a disappointing but encouraging shape.

All an artist has is their taste.

I read a lot about writing. Most of the time, I don’t really get a lot out of it, the rules and the tips and the tricks for becoming a good writer. And yet I can’t stop reading all these words about writing.

They are a comfort and an addiction and they distract me from my greatest tool: myself.

I am a great big tool.

But as a tool, I am a shape unlike any other. Nobody else has my experiences: my past, my history, my present, my specific, carefully curated collection of words and, most importantly, no one has my taste.

My weirdo decision-making process.

Nobody is ever going to use words exactly how I use words. Just like nobody will put paint on like you put paint on, or sing a note like you sing a note, or do a dance step in that singular way you move.

It’s why artists can have their most brilliant work early in their career. They are led by taste. Once we learn how things are supposed to work, how classics are constructed, we will often ignore our own instincts for the sake of making something for everyone.

When everything you make should be for you.

You can take the secret key with you or not; it’s yours to share or lose. I am bad at rules, so this revelation is convenient for me and my radical objections. My taste, however, is questionable at best, and the more I eat, the more I know what I like.

“That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.”

  • Charlie Chaplin

Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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