(“Compleat” is correct. It’s an archaic spelling, alluding to the classic book The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton (it may be too much of an inside joke though...).)
THE COMPLEAT ARTIST
By Eolake Stobblehouse
This is an article which will eventually become a book. It is a long process, and the final result will be much different and longer. I publish this, extremely compressed as it is, in order to get some comments to help with the further work.
This is a book about art.
I am tempted to leave the introduction at simply that statement, for that is the most precise and concise statement of the matter I could make.
However, this would not work , for after all there have been many books on art and there will doubtlessly be many more and how are you to know which kind this is? Some books talk about the history of art, famous artists, media, and so on, some books talk about contemporary trends in specific areas, some books teach techniques and other books wax philosophical.
This is a book of the last kind. It is definitely philosophical in nature, but is perhaps a bit unusual in that its goal is practical: A better understanding for the artist of what is art, and greater ease in his creative work and thus higher quality and quantity in his output.
This book is about art in its broadest possible sense. Not just about "painting" or even "painting, music, and sculpture", but about anything that has an aesthetic purpose whether or not it is normally seen as "art".
I have always regarded myself an artist and I have always striven towards becoming a better artist. This is probably why I have developed theories on the nature of art, in order to become a better artist myself. It never really was my intention to become a scholar or a teacher.
This book is a book written by an artist for artists. I am of course only too happy about anybody who is interested and reads it, but it really is intended for people who want to create and communicate. I don't care whether they are doing it professionally or not, or what medium or themes they work with. Anybody can be an artist, if he considers himself so. Many people consider that living itself can be an art form and certainly living itself as well as a host of activities can be considered in the light of the theories I present here.
Definitions of art
1: Any purposeful human activity that has no practical purpose, i.e. does nothing directly for physical survival, and produces something new.
2: Communication with beauty.
3: Creation wedded to communication.
4: A method of expanding the universe by creating.
5: Creating something that is pleasant, making it easier for people to turn their attention outward.
6: Interesting order.
7: A method of creating life.
Art is a method of coping that spiritual beings use when they are to a greater or lesser degree trapped in a fixed universe, where creation is limited and discredited. A spirit stuck in the unnatural position of not being easily able to create something that others can perceive, can use the method of making facsimiles of his creations in the materials he finds already present and perceivable in the universe he is in. This helps others to get an impression of his creation, and through agreement makes that creation more real.
Architecture of Art, definitions
A central part of this book is the chart I call the "Architecture of Art" (AoA for short). I considered "Anatomy of Art", but I liked better the implication of a structure, or something built, or even the building of something, than that of the practice of taking something apart, which is a quite different activity from what we are talking about here.
In the AoA I have divided art into three different parts or aspects. These three parts are again each divided into three parts. The AoA could be viewed as a structure or machine providing a process reaching from the physical universe into spiritual spheres. Or vice versa.
You could say that it is a blueprint of art as an machine. The lower the level the easier it is taught, observed, evaluated, and corrected. The higher the part, the more slippery it is to pinpoint or evaluate and to handle all in all.
The top of the scale is the reason why art has mystical connotations to many people. It simply cannot be explained easily if it is not perceived directly, since language derives from the physical universe, and the top of the scale is spiritual (and yet still real).
From a spiritual viewpoint the parts are more important the higher you go, and from a materialistic viewpoint the lower parts are more important.
Art consists of: (From the top) Static, Process, and Object.
"Static" consists of: Naturalness, Creatingness, and Wholeness.
"Process" consists of: Motion, Attraction, and Substance.
"Object" consists of: Representation, Association, and Materials.
Here are the basic definitions (from the bottom up).
Object: The part of the work that enters into the physical universe. It is the anchor that connects the creation to reality.
Process: Expanding the spirit, creating awareness of new things.
Static: The idea. The permanent part of the work. Not physical. This part endures as long as there is time. It also reaches far beyond the physical universe.
Materials: Are simply what the word says, the physical tools and things the artist uses in order to get his idea to appear in physical form.
Association: Is what the receiver thinks of, consciously or not, when viewing the work of art. Some associations are sane, like thinking of the smell of roses when seeing a picture of a rose, and some associations are not sane, like feeling a pain in the elbow when seeing a picture of a rose. There are many, many associations for any subject, and some are very personal (and so unpredictable), and some are more universal (belonging to a people or a species), and can be used by the artist.
Representation: The work of art represents an idea in the artist's universe. The more the Object is like the idea the stronger the art.
Substance: The created mass plus related masses (those masses made relevant by association.) A larger work needs great skill and integrity to keep these masses together seamlessly.
Attraction: That which keeps the work of art and those viewing it from blowing apart. (The process would tend to cause that otherwise, since it makes the viewer's universe expand and so push things away.) This is synonymous with "prettiness", and it is an important part of the popularity of a work, but only a smaller part of its overall importance.
Motion: The motion in the work/idea. It is the actual motion of the particles making up the idea, just like the motion of electrons etc. make up matter. Something which is not moving will not be perceived and if there is no motion at all, nothing exists. Motion creates space and time, making communication possible. (The Object does not, of course, have to be in motion for the work or the idea to be.) Both the quality and the quantity of the motion is considered.
Wholeness: The togetherness or the integrity of the work. How well the parts of the work play together in their action. Also the relative lack of superfluous or missing parts.
Creatingness: The amount of creation in the work. How much of it not taken from somewhere else. The power of creation put into it.
Naturalness: To which degree the work and its parts are the artist's own decision and is made from his own necessity. This is the naturalness (for the artist) of the viewpoint from which the artist creates his work.
The Architecture of Art chart is a tool.
It can be used to simply understand art better, but also has a variety of uses beyond that. It can be used as a tool during the whole process of creating a work of art from before the first idea to the last polishing.
It is not a tool of criticism. Criticism is in general a destructive (or at least deconstructive) process, and even though destruction can be good and necessary, the AoA is far too powerful a tool for such use. It is for the use of the artist when evaluating or creating his own work.
The purpose of art
Art has many purposes. The most basic of these, however, is expansion.
Expansion of the spirit by expansion of the universe.
And expansion of the universe by expansion of the spirit.
The universe is built of many layers. The topmost layers are those that can be contacted and perceived by the body's hands and eyes, i.e. crude matter. Under those are the finer sorts of energy, which can be perceived with finer instruments. And beyond those, even finer things, perceivable by even finer instruments, when built, or by the spirit itself. Those finer energies are no less a part of the universe than the cruder ones, and are in fact usually far more influential.
The universe is a solidified form of the collected ideas that the spirits inhabiting it have. The universe (or universes, if you will, for it is a complex thing) is one of the things that monitor the awareness-, happiness-, and activity-level of the spirits in contact with it. The simplest connection is straightforward: the more universe, the higher awareness.
And so, art becomes a method of expanding awareness by creating more of what is.
Any being (spirit, person) can create. (He wouldn't be here, if he didn't continuously create his surroundings.) He often creates for his own amusement in his own universe. And as he is in contact with the universe and other spirits, this has an effect on its own. What makes art a challenge is that in order to have a faster and more effective addition to the mass of ideas that comprises the universe, one must enlist the aid of others. In other words, one much make one's ideas communicate.
When the creation communicates, others want to join in and help create it also, and it gets solid much easier.
The problem, if any, is that pure creation, in the nature of things, is new. As such it is nothing people have ever seen before, so they have no relationship to it, so why have anything to do with it?Much of communication is based on familiarity. A being who is too used to living in a physical body which is not of his own creation is rather tough to reach and responds fast only to communication in the very physical end of things (i.e. food, sex, pain, etc.) Some people are great enough to go beyond that, and can receive communication that is more abstract and less familiar. These people are often an artist's most prized audience. But the point is to make art work effectively you have to combine in an intimate manner two things that natively have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, namely creation and communication. To a human being, they are almost like oil and water, for one requires familiarity and one is, by its very nature unfamiliar. And so we see the skill it takes to make good art.
Mediums and their basics.
The basic of pictures is the rendition of space.
The basic of sculpture is the rendition of matter.
The basic of music is the control of time.
The basic of stories is the discussion of people.
Some mediums, of course, combines things. Film combines people with space and time.
Architecture is matter and space.
Acting is energy.
The definition of quality is: How well something works according to its purpose.
Quarrels about quality are usually based on (unacknowledged) disagreements about purpose.
1: A natural state of spirit.
2: That quality which makes desirable the existence of something.
4: Harmony and life.
"That's not art!"
A destructive way of critizising art is by the statement "That's not art!"
The intentions of a person making such a statement is to make it cease to exist, either because he is a destructive person or in a destructive mood.
One should realize that fact and ignore it as simply another opinion on the quality of the work and remember that it is a work of art, and that any work of art is better than none.
Destruction of beauty.
One of the basic evil intentions in the universe is the destruction of beauty. This is so basic that possibly all of us have felt it from time to time. Certainly all of us have been affected by it.
It is one of the basic manifestations of the evil and sick soul that he cannot stand beauty.
Since one of the basic ingredients of art is beauty, this intention of course has devastating effects upon an artist's life and work. Much of the hardship and the fighting thrust upon an artist under the disguise of criticism, help, finance, and understanding problems, stems simply from the desire in certain people to destroy beauty. One should realize what it is and not be too discouraged.
The Artwork's force-field.
Any work of art existing in space is built around a forcefield. A forcefield is an energy system with one center and straight lines of force radiating from that. It also has the characteristic of concentric spheres of energy made from standing waves in the forcelines. The spheres of course have the same center as the lines, they are two manifestations of the same thing. And the thing is like a frozen explosion.
You simply arrange the parts and details in the artwork so they are in harmony with the forcefield. The forcefield's center is always in the exact center of the work, e.g. the frame of the painting.
The reason for this is that the explosion is the most well known and real energy manifestation anywhere. It is familiar and so has impact on any kind of living being anywhere. It has always been used in destroying and building things, probably because it is the simplest possible energy manifestation in three-dimensional space. In other words, any strange and unfamiliar phenomenon (which a work of art by its nature is) will still seem real to some degree when it is based on this. There of course is nothing stopping one from disregarding this and compose stuff based on completely different basics, but as long as the universe is basically as it is at the time of this writing, they will probably not communicate well.