The mystery of creation - does it still exist?

A large part of ones admiration for art comes from the unknown circumstances it was created in. How the artist felt when making this piece of art, what went though his or her mind, and ultimately how it was achieved. The creation of art remains mostly a black box, without us ever knowing what it took to get there. And we can only try to grasp an idea of it by looking at the final (perfect) product. Usually, only the masterpieces are shown, no-one surely wants to put his or her worst art in a book, exhibition, or to showcase.

But this idea is severely challenges as the internet and social media steps in. As I have written in my latest post (On the overestimated power of social media as a source of inspiration) the so called democratization of art is in my opinion one of the most positive effects of the internet on the art world. You no longer need a publisher, gallery, or marketing manager to get your work out there. You essentially are all that at the same time (to some extent). Concerning the impact on the black box of creation though, the internet removes a large part of this phenomena. We see behind the scenes material, live updates, and to an extent never thought possible: failures. The realization, that for example even the grand masters take bad images and not everything they touch magically turns into gold.

It just leaves the question if this is a positive thing or not? I believe it is twofold. I surely admire the romantic times of not knowing the odds under which something was created, how the person behind the art really is like, and most importantly how it was done. Looking at art this way, it almost seems otherworldly. Sometimes, you fail to be able to explain and comprehend the work.  It touches your emotions very deeply, and you acquire the idea of it possibly not even being human. 

These times still very much exist, but there is an obvious shift visible. A large number of the newer generation of artist (corresponding to the idea of the democratization of art) work in a different manner. As aforementioned, we are now more likely to share how we achieved something and personally most novel, we sometimes also share our failures and that leaves us with a completely new way art is perceived. Stephen Shore uses Instagram and his iPhone as a new way to share his work in a very different form. It is not like he takes photographs and then shares his best ones, he also very much takes them solely for the publishing in Instagram in a one-shot kind of way he has implemented with his 8x10 camera a while ago in his work (see this article for reference).

We are left with so many options and resulting opportunities to share our work in various forms. Additionally to what always had existed. In the end, no way is better compared to the other. But nevertheless, some of the unknowingness and resulting less restrained way of thinking and interpretation gets demolished forever. On the other side, we suddenly receive much more information and can keep the technical knowledge in mind while creating our new work. Once you know how something was done, you can start developing this idea further, realize what is possible, and perform it on your own way.


Unrelated to this short write-up, my aim with these short essays is not to cover a topic in its whole, but rather to illustrate a short point of view and leave the rest to your imagination. So if you have any thoughts related to the posts, please leave them in the comment section!


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