An egocentric view of Art and Life

U Be Cute is barely a month old, and I am already fully “sucked-in” as a blogger. I confess that means visiting my blog 25 times a day just to check if I got a new ‘like’ and or a ‘comment’. Which is sad, because I barely get about 5 ‘likes’ a day (if I am lucky), which is only a 20% rate of return on my obsessive labors. Yet, something about the little “call-out” button turning orange, sets my heart fluttering (especially since it happens so rarely). This is a feeling only other debutante bloggers such as myself will appreciate.

Likes & Comments

If you are one of those bloggers who gets 50 or more ‘likes’ on one Post alone, then you are way beyond fully appreciating that first lonely “like” that can completely transform your day. I feel like Meg Ryan (Aka ‘shopgirl’) in “You’ve Got Mail” who gets elated every time she sees an email from Tom Hanks (“NY151”). For those of you born in or after 1990, ignore that analogy, this movie is prehistoric for you.

My new obsession with getting “likes”, stems from the fact that all through my growing years; I was never hugely popular.  And by “hugely popular” I really mean “remotely popular”. I still only have a few close friends, with emphasis being on “few”, who somehow have the heart to stay friends, despite my many incoherent egocentric ramblings about how “I perceive the world” or “What I think”.

Egocentric ramblings…Does that make me an egocentric? Sure.

The truth is all human beings are egocentric to some degree.  Yes even YOU.

Despite the negative connotations around the word, “egocentrism” is not entirely an undesirable trait. Egocentrism allows us the privilege to perceive the world as we do, and to believe our perception is correct. In that respect all artists are essentially egocentric. Art in its simplest form is nothing if not an expression of how one perceives the world.

Art in all its forms; painting, sculpture, photography, prose, poetry is an exhibition of “life” not “as it is” but “as perceived” by the artist. The mere process of capturing life in some ways colors it.

For example, ask a bunch of students to photograph an object say: a fruit basket. It is very likely that every student will present the artwork differently, possibly adding different angles, colors, effects, lighting and so forth, so much so that in the end, what you see is not the fruit basket but the author’s perception of the fruit basket. This difference is only more enhanced if the students are to hand draw the objects.

Given below are some pictures I took of the same object, but changed the angle, focus, exposure slightly. The result is that the same inanimate object can appear so different, giving the viewer an altered experience of the object. May it be noted, that I am deliberately using photographs not hand drawn paintings, since photography is said to capture reality more closely than paintings. The central premise of this experiment is to prove that even a slight change of angle, focus by even a debutante photographer (myself) can make a big difference to how the same object is presented.

Is art necessarily beautiful or perfect? While a lot of people believe that art is a celebration of beauty, I disagree. Art is an imitation of life and life is neither beautiful nor perfect, it just is. What makes Art so unique is that it is innately flawed. Art is flawed because it imitates life which is full of flaws and also because the eyes that perceive it retain their own version of reality (which to some degree is less than reality).

The reason why Art is unique, interesting and timeless is not because it is a perfect imitation of life but because it is an egocentric perception of life by the author and in that it is both unique and flawed.

For how else how can commonplace topics such as love, jealousy, marriage, fear, pain still be the centrifugal themes of literature, despite having been talked about for centuries? The reason being, that every single author took the same theme but presented it in a different color, angle, context and light thus offering it unique and still relevant.

Writing is less about how it makes “you” the reader feel and more about how it makes “me” the writer feel. Just as creating Art is a personal experience, so also is enjoying Art a very personal experience. Which is why, different people analyse the same piece of literature differently. It does not matter what the true intent of the writer was. As long as Art causes one to think and question why things are the way they are, and what if they were different?

To me, there isn’t a single photograph or piece of work that is not artistic. If it was created by a human then the element of “perception” and “flaw” should automatically make it artistic to some degree.

What then makes certain pieces of artwork so different from the rest? Masterpieces such as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment are definitely beautiful and profound in any language. I read the English version of the book (originally written in Russian) and cried at every single page, and still wondered how much was lost in the translation alone. Classic works of Fiction such as Emily Bronte’s, “Wuthering Heights” is as romantic today as it was when first published in 1847.  Or the unforgettable childhood that Maggie and Tom Tulliver share in “Mill in the Floss” by George Eliot is still the best testament to childhood and sibling love and rivalry today, as it was in 1860. These are just a few of the many examples to prove that while times will change, human emotions such as fear, pain, love and jealousy are and will always remain relevant as will the writer’s perceptions.

To me a well written piece of prose or poetry is like a necklace; pearl like words strung together by the central theme joined by a clasp where the beginning meets the end. Although a good piece of prose or poetry is meant to provoke deep emotions, questions, or tug at the core of one’s being, above all it is meant to simply allow the egocentric writer a channel to express. As for me just the sheer joy of seeing the little “call-out” button turn orange is incentive enough to burn the midnight oil.

Happy One month Birthday, U be Cute! 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/photo-challenge-perspective/

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21 thoughts on “An egocentric view of Art and Life

  1. I think everyone goes thru this phase! I’m over an year old and I get only 10-15 likes a day but thats the fun of it… Every new comment or like sends a child like tingling thru to the brain… nice post… even I was going to do the same some day but guess I won’t anymore… you’ve illustrated the exact thought beautifully!

  2. Great piece of writing. Your view of art being “flawed and unique” is thought provoking.
    Am sure the day is not far off, when you would forget to count the number of “likes” – due to it’s sheer number and frequency!

    1. Awwww thank you for your kind words. It’s why I called it “an egocentric” view. If one is passionate just about writing, one would not care about likes. But we are all only human.

  3. It is just thought provoking. An outstanding piece of work. Very touching and soul satisfying. Recognition is not far. Whosoever would get chance to read would feel immense joy.

  4. I really like this post, good is good regardless of how many people like or comment on it. I can relate however, my blog is in it’s second year and I still love every like and comment and I think I always will regardless of what my stats look like :) Also, I have never been remotely popular either :)

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. And so glad you enjoyed the post. Although we all write to please ourself these timely responses from readers such as you make all the difference. Sincerely.

      1. Its a great opportunity to learn from others and make somebody’s day by dropping a “like” or a comment :). Thank you, we do share that joy.

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