Each creator’s creations are their coping mechanism for all times — for the loneliness of being, for the eager for connection, for the dazzling incomprehension of what all of it means. What we name artwork is just a gesture towards some genuine reply to those open questions, directly common and intimately felt — questions aimed on the elemental truths of being alive, animated by a yearning for magnificence, haunted by the necessity to discover a means of bearing our mortality. With out this elemental longing, with out this genuine gesture, what’s made just isn’t artwork however one thing else — the sort of commodified craftsmanship Virginia Woolf indicted when she weighed creativity in opposition to catering.
The yr he turned fifty, and a yr earlier than he gave his irreverent solutions to the well-known Proust Questionnaire, David Bowie (January 8, 1947–January 10, 2016) contemplated the soul of creativity in a tv interview marking the discharge of his experimental drum’n’bass file Earthling — a radical departure from the musical fashion that had sprinkled the stardust of his genius upon the collective conscience of a era, and a testomony to Bowie’s unassailable devotion to continuous inventive development.
Nested into the interview is his most direct recommendation to artists and the closest factor he ever formulated to a private inventive credo.
In consonance with E.E. Cummings’s splendid insistence that “the Artist is not any apart from he who unlearns what he has discovered, with a view to know himself,” Bowie displays:
By no means play to the gallery… At all times do not forget that the rationale that you simply initially began working is that there was one thing inside your self that you simply felt that in case you may manifest indirectly, you’ll perceive extra about your self and the way you coexist with the remainder of society. I believe it’s terribly harmful for an artist to meet different individuals’s expectations — they typically produce their worst work after they do this.
Echoing Beethoven’s life-tested perception that although the true artist “could also be admired by others, he’s unhappy to not have reached that time to which his higher genius solely seems as a distant, guiding solar,” Bowie provides a mighty antidote to the best enemy of inventive work — complacency:
If you happen to really feel secure within the space that you simply’re working in, you’re not working in the fitting space. At all times go slightly additional into the water than you’re feeling you’re able to being in. Go slightly bit out of your depth, and while you don’t really feel that your toes are fairly touching the underside, you’re nearly in the fitting place to do one thing thrilling.
Complement with John Lennon on creativity, Nick Cave on the connection between artwork and thriller, Paul Klee on how an artist have to be like a tree, and Wassily Kandinsky on the three duties of the artist, then revisit Virginia Woolf’s account of the epiphany that exposed to her what the inventive life means.