A few days ago on Facebook (an excerpt from a conversation).
D.P. – Conan has nothing to do with art. Neither high nor low art. The same could be said about 99 percent of all pulp fiction creations, both in comics and literature.
P.M. – Well, I “love” these kind of statements. They remind me of my youth…of any youth, which is often proud, bold, arrogant, naïve…I’m not saying it is true, or it is not true. What I want to say is that If we are using terms like high art and low art, we must first of all define what is Art.
So, what is Art?
Fortunately, my dear D. P., nobody knows it for sure. Many have tried to explain it, speculated about it, claimed to know – tried to prove it, intellectualized it, quarreled about it with those who thought differently, blamed and “crucified” each other for their differences. No explanation by so-called experts went further than more or less ingenuous conceptualization of the phenomenon. None of it gave us a final answer. One person might experience something as the ultimate Art, while the same creation may leave another totally indifferent. We simply cannot agree on that matter.
And you know why? It’s because no one was ever able to explain what is Beauty, what is Love, what is Spirit …What is Truth.
It’s not possible to grasp it intellectually because every explanation happens within the domain of intellect, which is always limited, conditioned, blinded by the confined personal, often petty experience and knowledge. Art belongs to the domain of Life phenomena which can be comprehended only through a direct experience, but it cannot be explained.
At its best, one can talk about Art in descriptive terms, but nobody can put a finger on it and say -That’s it! Even the Artist cannot do that. One cannot patent it, nor put a copyright notice on it. There is no mathematical equation, or formula that can summed it up.
Art can be experienced only when the limited and self-oriented, self-obsessed Ego consciousness – that which is usually called the “I”, that which claims to know something – is removed from the path, so that a wondrous “click” can take place deep within. Art appears, it discloses itself and becomes apparent in that magical moment when the “I” is removed from the eternal stream of Life, as fallen trees and stones are removed from the brook so that water can flow smoothly, be clean and clear again.
This withdrawal of the most famous, but also the most incompetent judge called “I”, makes a direct connection with the inexpressibility of the Wonder of Life possible, a connection that is unsoiled by the personal prejudices, concepts, ideas, desires, anxieties.
Naturally, the best way to have an insight in what Art is happens through a direct contact between the observer, or the experiencer, and the Artwork. However, it should be taken into consideration that Art is not to be found in the artwork itself (a symbol is not the same as that which is symbolized, or represented) but it unexpectedly shines through, it happens in the moment of Recognition… But one might ask – Recognition of What? Who, or What is being recognized?
That seems to be the real question – a tough one – and everybody has to find the answer for himself. Your answer will be slightly different from mine; mine somewhat different from John’s, his different from Mary’s, and so on. All eyes and heads are different, let alone hearts.
Nevertheless, all the answers, although seemingly different and personal, might eventually point out toward the one common answer, the one that is called the Truth.
Again, the Truth is inexpressible … but it can be experienced, tasted.
A sage once expressed it beautifully – There are three truths in life: my truth, your truth, and the Truth.
I think the ultimate aim of an Artist is to be the taster of this Truth through his own senses and means, beginning with his own truth, and as such to become a herald of the Truth. If he succeeds in revealing at least a tiny bit of It to himself, and then manages to convey it whether through comics about Conan, paintings of glorious sunset, poems about grandma Mary’s obsession with donuts, he has done a great job.
It’s not about the subject matter, it’s about how you approach it and what you do with it.
D.P. – It is not difficult to define what art is. It’s something that inspires you to see that Conan is a heavy crap, no matter how well-crafted it is.…..