In spite of absolutist clichés, light, or its absence, permeates all aspects of existence. Life, for one, fails to exist without its physical, cyclical presence and absence. We, being the majority of the human population, utilize daylight to carry on life’s functions (except for those who labor during graveyard shifts, for whom I revere with the upmost respect considering my craving for sleep sets with the sun); therefore, it cannot be ignored. In previous years, I tried my best to fight this natural constant by sleeping through all hours of the day (not that I cut any short at night), drawing the shades tight, wearing sunglasses even past dusk…the attempts continue. And so this unalterable daily occurrence compels reflection for its influence beyond our physical dependence.
So enters art in the conversation of light. As aforementioned, the creation process requires both its presence and its absence, yet the tangible manipulation of light, the conflict of illumination, the want of internal luminosity all interject in the compilation of art. Recognizing the state of internal light is of utmost importance, not just for making art, but also for living life. Without acknowledging and reflecting on the light and darkness in our minds, our disposition, our attitudes, our souls, our intangible elements of existence, how can anything else be effectively communicated through physical representation?
In essence, light is impossible to fabricate devoid of internal sourcing. Of course, the feat may be attempted; the work itself, however, evokes a stronger response if it is the expression and elucidation of our internal state.
The majority of my past work probably concerned my close friends because they knew the darkness inspiring the pieces, but to me, it was brilliance. Not in a narcissistic way by any means, but I finally looked at a final project and knew I created a piece for more than a class assignment. It was as if I materialized my soul in the dark room, or stroked my suffering on a canvas, or stippled agony in the ink.
I existed through my art.
At some level, I hope every artist (i.e. every person) may experience the reality of darkness. Not that I wish suffering on people, but it is through suffering (I call it my dark time) one will fumble through dark recesses and experience a reality too raw to further elude authenticity in life. The grappling to find one’s internal luminosity creates a canvas for masterpieces.
Once constructed, the display of such pieces must reflect the inspiration of the artist. Dismissing the origin shelves its reasoning, process, thought, purpose, etc.—in essence art would simply exist as material at which to glance in passing.
Sharing the process exercised to create the piece enables the artist to meet critics in their respectively lit or dim recesses, and to relate through much more than a physical piece. Art—authentic art—should never be produced without intention; it should never be a futile piece, briefly triggering interest without provoking further thought and response. Whether it evokes repulsion, appreciation, confusion, etc. depends on the luminosity inside the viewer.
The question arises; do they, in turn, know what light (or darkness) pervades them?