As we move through life we stir up images, thoughts, ideas. We stir up our own experiences being an individual in this world. It could be argued that these same stirrings also attract images, thoughts, ideas that sometimes do not seem to us to be our own. It could also be imagined that these wandering images, thoughts, ideas are looking for an expressive outlet, a voice. As does the artist search for an idea, so does the idea look for the way to be heard.
How images, thoughts, ideas come to us is a baffling process. An equally important question is how these ideas are received by the other. How does an image, sculpture, idea resonate with the observer? How do ideas or images spread out into the world once they have been created. Every artist would like a real answer to these questions. How can we get our work seen by those who need to see it? The phrase, "an idea whose time has come" may refer to an idea that has been seen by a critical mass of individuals and finds resonance. It could be that there is a growing need for some ideas to be found and when found are received like iron shavings to a magnet. There could be something else going on, entirely. It is worth thinking about. Some ideas can be discovered and never find an audience. They seem to sit and wait, sometimes for centuries, and reemerge again hoping to find resonance.
Have an interesting life.
This is first and most important and necessary element to being an artist some say. The encounter with one's own soul, to find it and understand it. Equivalent to the courageous act of trying to attract the Muse, the Genius, the Powers we don't yet understand, the ideas looking to be expressed need to be found. Moving through our life looking for purpose, for experiences worthy of including in a well lived life.
Living a meaningful life necessitates moving, doing, getting on. Get doing the work. Be there working when the ideas come looking for you. Be out there doing and experiencing the world trying to make some sense of us all. Making sense of the world is pattern making. Pattern making, image making is, without a doubt, the artistic experience. All of us are seeing and making patterns all the time. Recognizing the face of a friend is recognizing a complex pattern, for example. Looking at a tree or mountain range or Pollock painting all produce similar eye movements in the observer.
When we see a beautiful piece of art we know it's beautiful because it is expressing patterns that we know are true, that even our eye movements know are true. Beauty and Truth are one thing, say the philosophers.
Jackson Pollock, the artist of drip painting, has beautiful work that stands the test of time. Why? His paintings are made up of patterns, fractal patterns. The patterns you find in tree branches, mountain ranges. They are the same when viewed from a distance as they are when taken in at close range, like a little branch resembles the mighty oak. We see his paintings and know instictively that they are true, and therefore, beautiful. His paintings at first glance look like so much chaos. Because of this forgers constantly try to produce fakes. One of the tools to recognize a fake Pollock is fractal analysis.
Did Pollock know he was making fractal patterns? Probably not. Fractals were discovered perhaps first by a mathmatician philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibnizin in the 17th century. Then they were forgotten. Fractals have not been thought about much until 1979. Thanks to the need for digital imagining Mandelbrot working at IBM resurrects the math to make fractal images. This information is known to everyone through all most of our movies and digital images. Amazingly, too, it is right there in Pollock's work from 1947 to 1950. No one knew then, not even Pollock. We do know his paintings are amazing.
Something to ponder when you're thinking about how ideas are born and resonate. The artist knows the creation is more than the sum total of her or his own experiences. Although, those experiences are fundamental to finding the idea. The artist, therefore often lacks the words to tell us what the image is expressing. There is often more at play than is obvious to either the artist or the observer. We can never really be sure if we're having an idea whose time has come. Perhaps, we can know if it's an idea that is true by it's beauty.