Art and Wallpaper, Part 2: The Three Tenets of Creating Art

In my previous article, we addressed the notion of what art is—it is a fundamental piece of the human condition that connects two or more people in a shared emotional state. An artist is the person who creates the thing (painting, dance, musical performance, creative writing, etc.) that transports the audience member into a similar mental state as him- or herself.

So how does one create art? This is perhaps the biggest challenge, the question we must all ask once we’ve completed a project:

Is this art?

A discussion of what I’m calling the Three Tenets of Creating Art will prove helpful. To be an artist (and I’m borrowing from Tolstoy here) we must commit to three ideas:

  • We must be working to evoke a specific and individual feeling (or sequence of feelings) in our art. The more unique the feeling we work to create, the stronger that will be felt by our audience.
  • We must work to keep our art clear and focused. Art works to express a feeling in our audience which they already have but have not known how to express, so it is important that your audience feels assured they share that feeling with you. Do not lead them astray from your intended emotions.
  • We must earnestly feel the emotions we are hoping to create in our audience. If the artist sincerely feels the emotions in his/her work, that will inevitably be felt by the audience. We must work to remain honest in our art and not rely on being clever. Our audience is better at seeing the deception than even they know. Honest art is infectious to those who see it, whereas insincere work will only end up being forgotten.

Make sense? Implicit in this credo is something simpler: our creation must come from the heart, and be felt in the hearts of others.

That beautiful wallpaper … does it evoke a heart response? Next we will take a closer look at why, as I said, wallpaper is not art.

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