Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Art to Art

An encounter with an old friend I hadn't seen in some time caused me to think about the relationship between different artistic disciplines, especially as they occur in the one individual. My friend and I had, some years ago, both been active writing and publishing poetry, reading at literary and progressive events. I had continued with my poetry; he had gone on to try drama and then make a name for himself as a sculptor. We spoke of the old times and before I could even raise the question, he offered an answer.

It wasn't that he was not sincere about his poetry, he explained, but it was one of several ways of self expression that he was exploring at the time. He mentioned a turn at stand-up comedy and a stint with a rock band that I had forgotten. For reasons of his own he chose sculpture as his medium of choice.

I wished him well with his current and future projects. Over coffee at home I pondered how an artist moves from one metier to another. Sticking with literary figures, I thought of how writers like Atwood and Ondaatje put their excellent poetry aside for the novel, how a century ago Thomas Hardy gave up novels for poetry. Moving from literary to plastic arts would be even more difficult, unless, as my friend had explained, it was a part of finding your personal method of expression.

It all made me think back to what I had gone through to become so connected to poetry. In my youth, I too had tried other means. I had spent time on the stage. I had performed as a vocalist with a musical ensemble. Unable to draw or paint, I had however taken instruction in photography. Literature, and especially poetry, became my art of choice; not just poetry because I also write the occasional piece of short fiction.

We all have to channel our self-expression somehow. Some people lie and cheat and steal to feel good about themselves; others create things that reflect the beauty or ugliness of life. Writers put it into words that don't get blown away by the wind.

Each to each.

1 comment:

annaken said...

Good Morning Jefferson,

How very nice to bump into an old friend with whom you share so many pleasant memories.

Self expression can change, for an example, I am totally engaged in jewellery making and haven't written anything since the middle of December.

It's not that I won't write anything again, but my creativity is being used this way at the moment.

Your friend may change back or alternate between sculpture and writing. Who can say?

That is the blessing of being creative, there are so many fields one can be creative in!

I did not know that you had been an actor. Did I ever mention to you that I wrote a play and directed it, on behalf of the South Asian Women's Liberal party in 1996? I am happy to say it was very well received.

It was quite an interesting but very time consuming thing to do.

You have a lovely voice - I had not realized that you had been a vocalist. Congratulations.

It just shows that you are like your friend in many ways - creative in many forms.

Makes life more interesting, don't you think????