Three themes run consistently throughout the countless expressions of art in its many forms, down through the millennia: Sensuality (Love), Mortality (Death), and Spirituality (Faith). Any one or a combination of these three can convey, like a universal language, striking familiar cords on an emotional, intellectual and/or divine level. In the West, one need only to reflect on the art of the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Byzantium, Gothic, Renaissance periods. Even the modern era of Picasso, Dali, Chagall, and Warhol demonstrate the impact of these three concepts.
What inspires these three themes, motivating the artist to manipulate the media, with a compelling desire to communicate? Faith, tragedy, and romance are powerful forces that touch the heart, mind and soul of human beings in any time and place. Often the means of inspiration can come from other art forms: story telling, classic epics, the Holy Bible, poetry, and music. One art form often inspiring another!
In this present time, critics seem to pit “pure art” against “illustration art”. With the advent of photography, graphics that depict a representational narrative becomes, for some, second rate art if considered art at all. Until this modern attitude, artists, since the time of the first cave paintings or Egyptian reliefs, were executing visual narratives – whether the intrigue of hunts, or wars, or gods – while attempting to capture and convey whatever the impact on mankind.
Today, when there is indeed a plethora of artists, the art instructor often encourages the understudy, not to be afraid of taking risks – to go against the grain, be unconventional, do something never before attempted. Yet most artists, great and small, will readily acknowledge their influential predecessors. In fact to describe any artist as “creative” is somewhat of an anomaly. One 20th century artist, Siegfried Reinhardt, stated honestly, “I don’t create. Only God creates! I simply rearrange.”
Scott R. Blazek