Some think art needs to have a major impact to be worthwhile.
Franz Kafka wrote, “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us… that affect us like a disaster… A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”
[From my article The Alchemy of Art.]
In an article for the Institute of Noetic Sciences magazine, Kate McCallum writes about this transformational power:
In their earliest expression, the arts were closely aligned with spiritual truths—for example, when used in ritual or in dedication to gods and goddesses.
Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to reclaim the sacred power of the arts and to bring more awareness to creative expression that could yield tremendous benefits for humanity.
Today’s artists and content creators can now produce media that reflect the totality of the human experience.
Although the role of technology is vital in bringing us newly emergent art forms and innovative opportunities to expand our consciousness, it is still the visionary expression and intentional use of these tools by creative individuals that will help to evolve humanity toward a more peaceful and compassionate future.
And lest we forget: The organic power and simplicity of the human voice in song, an instrument played, a dance expressed, a tale well spun, a poem recited, or an image or object appreciated will continue to hold the potential of turning our lead into gold.
Kate McCallum is an artist, writer, musician, producer, consultant, teacher, and founder both of c3: Center for Conscious Creativity and of Bridge Arts Media, a transmedia production and consulting company based in Los Angeles.
From her article Visions From The Techno-Mystic Edge, Shift, Issue 20 Sept-Nov 2008, Institute of Noetic Sciences.
[Painting: The Alchemist by Leon Brunin, from Art Renewal Center.]
Her last comment about turning lead into gold – the metaphorical mission of alchemy – reminds me of a comment by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who uses gunpowder in his artwork.
“Why is it important,” he asks, “to make these violent explosions beautiful? Because the artist, like an alchemist, has the ability to transform certain energies, using poison against poison, using dirt and getting gold.”
Photo: Cai Guo-Qiang, running for safety after lighting gunpowder to create one of his drawings.
From post Developing Creativity: Courage and Creating.
Into the dark
Writer Julia Cameron (“The Artist’s Way”) has commented that artists are often terrified. Being creative is venturing into the unknown, and it sets off emotional alarms.
In her book Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness, Monika Wikman also comments about this, noting “we descend into darkness voluntarily” when we create.
In her Creativity at Work blog post “Alchemy” (an issue of her newsletter), Linda Naiman writes:
“We are alchemists when we transform into our golden selves. Aristotle said the noblest goal in life is eudaemonia: Striving toward excellence based on one’s unique talents and potential, and experiencing wellbeing. For many, this means finding your calling, reinventing your career and making the shift from success to significance.”
Pretty much all of us experience some kind of trauma in life. How does creative expression help people deal with it, to heal and recover?
How do people make use of traumatic experiences in their creative work?
What impacts on mental health can trauma have, and how can people regain health?
See quotes by and about many well-known artists such as Sarah Polley, Halle Berry, Lady Gaga, will.i.am, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonathan Safran Foer and many others.
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