Friday, March 12, 2010

Art for Art's Sake or This Guy Art is a Big Fan of Mine

We went to the Walt Disney Concert Hall to see Joshua Bell. The hall is stunning in its beauty and design, completely overwhelming.

I saw a documentary about the famous Frank Gehry, the designer of the Disney Hall. He would walk around his massive studio, filled with assistants and designers, pick up pieces of cardboard and bend them into different shapes. He would tape them together and leave them on tables, like my cat leaves his little paper sculptures around the house. Then the designers and assistants would scurry over and begin the execution of his designs. What struck me was his ability to create without fear. Just create. No self-doubt. No wracking insecurities. And at his level of success, people clamor to help him achieve his vision. I admired his ability not to let his previous accomplishments choke him. I’ve seen so many artists, actors, writers and musicians reach a certain level of fame and freeze, unable to create anymore.

I’m creating my own art every day, but I don’t have assistants following after me, picking up the little crumbs of my creation. Except for acting, music and dancing, the rest of the art I do--writing, directing, drawing--is only for Art’s sake. Does that mean the art I haven’t been paid for yet doesn’t exist? Most of the time, I feel extremely grateful that I have been making a living as an artist for so long, yet I'm not so famous that I fall under the pressure of extreme public scrutiny. I'm grateful that I can call myself a working artist. I’m grateful that some of my art is only for Art’s sake, for my serenity and peace of mind. My cat and I can make our little works of art and still get rewarded for our efforts.

Of course, it’s dangerous to compare Frank Gehry’s outsides with my insides. There will always be someone more successful or less successful than me, someone better or worse than me. And who knows how Frank Gehry feels in the dark of the night, when he stands alone at his window, worrying about whether or not he can create, whether or not his brain and his body will help him perform, whether he will ever get another chance to indulge in his art? Because designing the Disney Hall is a once in a lifetime experience. Motivating myself as an artist is a daily activity. And a gift.