Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Purpose of Art - The Art of Purpose

Michelle was lamenting a lack of definitive answers to how to find one's Purpose.

This was my response:

What an interesting question. I have been watching Syesha, and agree with your 'most improved' assessment. I also agree that the more 'theatrical' selections have been her forte'. As to whether she can make it on Broadway, I have no idea if she can act. Musical theater is a melding of all the artistic disciplines, from the visuals of sets and lighting to the musicianship of the orchestra in partnership with the actor/singer. Make no mistake, to be a true artist in that venue; the two disciplines come in that order.

But that is not really the answer to the question, now is it? Syesha is no different than myself or any other actor/musician/painter/sculptor/etc. Success for the artist is no different than any other walk in life. Luck is being prepared when the moment arrives. Success measured in acclaim, in whatever form is never just about talent. It is partially about drive. As it was explained to me so many years ago at conservatory, "You should only do this (pursue a career) if it is what you HAVE to do." Drive, need, whatever you call it. The only reason you make the sacrifices you make to attain the highest success/notoriety is because it IS the only thing that fulfills that URGE. I must be what you HAVE to do.

I am reminded of the song Purpose from the Broadway hit Avenue Q:





This is not just something that applies only to artists. It applies to all walks of life. Most never have the chance to reach the heights of fame or even perhaps fortune. But like the artist, success, however it is measured, is not just about talent. Always luck plays a part. Chance determines potentialities that resolve into realities.

But the artist has a potential un-measured by fame or fortune. True, achievement of the goal will lead to recognition and the other blessings will flow. But this is something worth striving for, For Its Own Sake. Independent of any observation of its fulfillment. I am one of those who can sing like the angels, yet you have never heard of me. Yet I am content. How you may ask?

As I once wrote in a blog post:

Imagine yourself painting a picture with pure light.

That your sculpture was of fog and mist, as ephemeral as a cloud.

That the experience of your art was through the active participation of your audience, for the duration of its performance.

Music. Theater. Opera, the merger of the two.

Fleeting glimpses of the soul poured out into vibrations of the air.

Passing into nothingness.

So brief.

If one is not alert, one will miss it.

Miss the unique fusion of the piece and the artist interpretation into the expression of all that it is to be a human being.

Transcend into that magical place...

Where Art occurs.

Always be ready, or you will miss it...

And there you have it. THAT is why the artist pursues their passion. For that fleeting moment of perfection.

Now. Like the Samurai of old, find that thing that YOU do. And perfect it. Until you reach that bliss.

Find YOUR Art.

THAT, is your Purpose.