Receiving Art <- Deep Thought Thursday

And if the ideas don’t spread, if no gift is received, then there is no art, only effort. When an artist stops work before his art is received, his work is unfulfilled.—Seth Godin

This quote is taken from page 99 of Godin’s book Linchpin, which I highly recommend. Godin uses the word “artist” in the broadest sense. To him, artists don’t just paint, draw, sculpt, weld, build, sew, print, and carve. An artist is anyone with big ideas who becomes indispensable and changes the world.

Does this quote apply to visual artists?

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8 comments to Receiving Art <- Deep Thought Thursday

  • I would think this quote applies to the visual arts. But, I would think that you could take this as the idea spreading across a large group of people, or, perhaps even more importantly, to a single individual.

    You don’t have to be showing your work to the public at large for it to be art. You could show it to a single family member, have it change them or challenge them in some way, and have it still be considered art.

  • I does apply to artist, but also to musicians, film makers, poets, writers, etc. If you don’t push the work out there for people to see, read, and hear – then Godin is right. Only effort.

  • I’m afraid my view swings the other way. As someone who was out of the ‘art’ scene for almost 18 years, when I started my foundation year at University, a lot had changed. One of the major changes was the amount of emphasis on the idea.

    I do feel that 95% of people I speak to get the words ‘contemporary’ and conceptual’ mixed up!

    I guess in that sense, I see myself as a Lord Voldemort’ type of artist. I believe that art whether it be visual, musical or which ever field you are in, is 80% a talent based thing, that only a few share.

    My talent at school was art and I excelled in it. I received a certificate on my G.C.S.E. portfolio (I was one of only 2 students to receive it) that meant my work could be exhibited around the country by the examiners.

    At Falmouth school of Art, as and when I put my mind to it, I was always in the top three. At the end of my course my tutor John Martin said, “you’re one of the best artist I’ve seen, but you don’t want to do it do you?” 2 year previous at the age of 16 I lost my mother to Asthma, and I was going through some tough times at home so my focus wasn’t on art at the time.

    Again at university, out of some 65 students, I came 2nd, 3rd??? For life drawing.

    I don’t buy into conceptual art at all. I understand it, but I just don’t by into it. Art for me has been and will always be based in drawing first and foremost. If you can’t display a reasonable aptitude for drawing, then I don’t believe that you’re an artist.

    Anyone could have a good idea. The cat can have an idea, does that mean the cat is an artist? A bricklayer can have an idea, a financial advisor can have an idea, and ideas are not what make an artist.

    I’ve got ideas for websites that will turn me into an overnight millionaire! I’m not saying that I/we should stick to drawing or painting, I just believe in calling a spade a spade, and not a frog!

  • I agree with Godin’s quote–but only because I also believe that whenever you make a work you are always having a conversation with yourself–And certainly we can think of this as a spreading of ideas and also as a gift.

    Art always has and always will be about ideas and communication–even if at some points it is an internal dialogue.

  • The art becomes a gift first to the artist by taking the inspiration and making it real. It becomes a gift a second time, hopefully, by finding an audience.

  • “And if the ideas don’t spread, if no gift is received, then there is no art, only effort. When an artist stops work before his art is received, his work is unfulfilled.”—Seth Godin

    I think this is really a marketing goal and has nothing to do with art making. Whether or not the ideas spread don’t change the completed painting or sculpture–if there is no murmur in the forest does the painting not exist?

    “This quote is taken from page 99 of Godin’s book Linchpin, which I highly recommend. Godin uses the word “artist” in the broadest sense. To him, artists don’t just paint, draw, sculpt, weld, build, sew, print, and carve. An artist is anyone with big ideas who becomes indispensable and changes the world.”–Alyson

    Politicians like Churchill and Hilter are not artists, but they would fit the above definition. Bill Gates, nope, Billie Jean King, also not.

    “Artist” has something magical about it, making it broader in meaning runs of risk of it ultimately being meaningless.

  • I want to second Michael Newberry’s comments-
    “Artist” has something magical about it, making it broader in meaning runs of risk of it ultimately being meaningless.”

    There have been some very wonderful artists who for reasons of poverty, sickness, personality, and/or just plain bad luck were just unable to an audience for their work. But at least sometimes their artwork survives and strikes a chord with those that discover it. I’m all for artists “spreading the word” about their art, but it is different than the art making itself.

  • I can support Seth’s position. It is inspiring, challenging me to put myself out more, show people what I am doing, giving them the opportunity to respond. Give my art gift the chance to change people. He is right that changing the world only happens if the art is received, the seed is scattered and finds receptive soil somewhere outside my studio.

    His is only one perspective. I have always believed that the viewer and especially the collector, cocreates the work with the artist. They bring something to the experience of my art that is their unique contribution. Together we create something more powerful and far reaching than I could make on my own without them.

    Yet, my work is still art, and more than just effort, even if no one sees it. To believe otherwise implies that someone OUT THERE has to validate my work to make it art.