Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Allegory of the Boy Artist

The boy begins as soon as he can see, by taking an interest in everything around him that he sees in ACTION.

It is not by objects in themselves that his senses are excited, it is by their movement, their variation. His indifference to things which give no sign of life is profound. It is only when they move that he is struck by the notion that possibly they might in some way be made to gratify his own passions.

The first enjoyment he receives through his outward instinct is that of DESTRUCTION. When he gets old enough to handle things, the only vent for his desire to assimilate them, to make them part of his ego, is to pull them to pieces, to punish their unresponsiveness by summary execution.

Between this stage and the next there is a period during which the boy does not know what to do or be at. In contrast to him the girl's instinct for nurturing is only feebly developed. He knows no middle ground between destruction and creation. The months between the last wilful disembowelling and the first attempt to MAKE are passed, as a rule, in the persecution of every living thing he comes across.

The Allegory of the Boy Artist visual

(from studies in psychology of the boy artist).
At last the time arrives to give him paints and pencils. What does he do with them? Does he put a vase of flowers on a table and sit down to study its forms? NO; he tries to recreate the life by which he has been fascinated all along. He wearied of his tin calvary because it could not charge. And so he tries to make action of every kind visible. Purely objective fact, has no existence for him. What he wants to realise is his own conception of how things should move and what patterns they should make. If Wellington drew a battle for him, he would insist on more smoke; or Fordham a racehorse, he would want more flush of mane and tail.

The boy who tries for correctness in these early stages never becomes an artist. His untutored ambition, if it is to lead to much, has to be of the subjective, creative, self-assertive kind. Now comes the crisis.
The boy has carried his natural light as far as it will go. He has made men fight as furiously and horses gallop as extravagantly as he can with his scanty knowledge of either.

He begins to see that if he is ever to express himself fully and to satisfy his own nascent critical sense, he must lay aside imagination and turn for a time to ACQUISITION. This is the parting of the ways.
The discovery?

Science ministers to art. The consummation of it all, even with the greatest artists, does not come too soon. It does not come until the scientific foundation is fused, as it were, into the art built upon it. The expressive artist must put his knowledge of form, of structure, of the behaviour of paint or clay, into action, as unconsciously as the writer does his knowledge of grammar.

Then the genius of the artist emerges.

Collages in above visual:
Vanitas 1 Vonny Nasamoto

Vanitas 2 Vonny Nasamoto

Other images used:

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