Often times, in the process of creating something—be it acting in a role, painting on a canvas, composing a piece of music, etc., many artists will strive for
beauty. We want our work to be “good”, to be powerful, brilliant, moving, thought provoking, original, etc. These are natural inclinations. We all want to be appreciated and recognized for a job well done. That is part of our wiring.
However, such thinking and goal setting can set us off the tracks from where our thinking likely “should” be, when creating.
It has been my personal experience as an artist that the best work that I create is work that is not pre-meditated, overly planned or overtly controlled.
For me, that is the power and beauty of the act of creating—I do not know what I am going to create and, therefore, do not know what its ending point will be or what the final product will look like. The act of creating is, in this way, very much like adventure. It is an entering into the unknown, which involves risk (if you are worth your salt as an artist) and the willingness to make choices.
Not everything that we create needs to be beautiful, original and dynamic. We need to allow ourselves to, at times, be ugly, to fail, to step into areas, fields and material that is outside of our comfort zones and, consequently, unknown to us.
We need to allow ourselves the liberty to produce stinky turds now and then. We need to allow ourselves the personal freedom (and freedom of ego) to create works that are ugly, that do not necessarily make sense (at first, if ever) and to allow ourselves to GET OUT OF THE WAY of ourselves.
I believe that art is a process of bringing what is inside, out. We, as artists, give expression to our impulses, imagination, emotions, etc, which stem from the stimuli we net from our experiences, from our lives. Artists build from such and bring that into that material world and, consequently, into reality.
Getting out of the way of ourselves means that we stop “minding” all of the unnecessary and potentially censoring people, organizations, goals and thoughts we have and, instead, we “mind” releasing and mind realizing our creative impulses and mind giving shape to that.
That is the way towards freedom of expression and personal liberty.
Jim Hart is the founder of and Rektor of The International Theatre Academy Norway.