So, from understanding the power in images, it is a short leap to finding the power of art in photography. Susan Sontag’s book. On Photography in 1977 had a great impact on my perception of the power of the image on our culture and collective memories. Well-conceived images can have a power to communicate at a deeper emotional level than we might understand.
Creativity is about communicating. Standing enraptured in front of a great piece of art, it is sobering to think that countless others have had the same response to the piece you have. A connection is made between you and the artist unbounded by time or location.
I’ve loved Seth Godin’s little book “V is for Vulnerable, Life Outside the Comfort Zone.” He has a great quote, “More is not the goal of the artist. Better is the artist’s dream. Better connection is the point of the work. More stuff leads to a world of scarcity, while better connected creates abundance.”
Now, in the third chapter of my life, I am late coming to claim the title of “artist”. Looking back when I was a kid, I knew people who had “the Gift” of art and could see I certainly did not. I equated creativity as being able to draw or paint or put colors together. The truth is, I have found, that much in art can be learned and developed. Like most skills, it just takes determination and practice.
But another factor, and probably the most important factor, is encouragement. We all need mentors or encouragers along the way. It is a form of blessing that we can give to someone when we say, “you’re good at that, or you’ve done a
good job.” It is a powerful thing to know you can influence a fledgling artist by a simple word of encouragement or shame. I’ve experienced both in my life.
I think I’m in an interesting time in the transition of photography from analog to digital. I have found a great deal of satisfaction exploring that intersection. Using the tools of the computer and the foundational concepts of art, I continue to explore as an artists with greater understanding and confidence.
In many of the classes I have taken in art I find I am the oldest, the least experienced, but the most highly motivated to succeed. I practice drawing everyday and read widely on the techniques of art as well as viewing art in the museums and galleries. I say I am studying to become an artist.
To quote Seth Goden’s book again, “Youth isn’t a number it’s an attitude. So many disruptive artists have been youngsters, even the old ones. Art isn’t a genetic or chronological destiny, it’s a choice, open to anyone willing to trade pain in exchange for magic.”
My website is www.davidclanton.com which shows my portrait and general work. But click on the Fine Art tab to see my sometimes whimsical take on how we see our world.