Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Risk in art

Salman Rushdie wrote about the idea of risk in art in an article I recently found in Canadian Business magazine. He said that the "greatest art is always that art which pushes boundaries outwards and offers some new possibility that didn't previously exist." I agree that unless I go to the edges of what I know and do, and scare myself by jumping over the edge--the piece when finished seems tame and quiet. The work does not call to me from the space between what I just forgot and what I don't yet know.
Usually, when I take a risk in art and first gaze at the results, I almost always am in a muddled state between alarm and a sort of giddy attention. What was I thinking? I then usually discover that my risk in art succeeds when I stop thinking, and instead push away from all my ideas of what is attractive or accessible, and refuse to assess how others will see my effort, or what they will think of the result.

There were several Journey Oracle cards whose images required a sizable risk to include in the oracle card deck. These four images seemed too unpleasant and unskillful to keep, and yet now these cards are drawn again and again by people receiving a reading. They have a power that is not connected to being attractive, but rather to some other more shadowed aspect. Risk in art is like that--we go beyond what we can imagine, and meet what expands us.