Art and Self-Expression
“Today art is a confusing word and most people cannot and dare not to define it. Instead people pretend that art is subjective or too complicated for simple folks to understand. We common people blindly accept the words of professional art critics and pay way too much money to see someone do really ridiculous things. We then do our best to figure out what we viewed might mean. The fear of being called stupid or closed-minded keeps us from speaking our mind. Everyday people rarely dare to publicly admit how little these so-called art pieces have touched or influenced them.”₁
“We as humans have the ability to share historical events, science, math etc. with each other. We can learn from each other’s mistakes, and continue with the documented lessons and conclusions from past generations. The way we share our knowledge is mostly done through language expressed by speaking or writing. Because we keep passing on our knowledge, we don’t have to reinvent everything over and over again. As a result, a collective progression of what humanity has learned is made.
When we don’t want to express what we know, but what we feel, we become very limited, as if we are trying to speak in a foreign language we barely understand. Words can never fully describe a feeling or an emotion, and this inability can feel very uncomfortable for those individuals who try.
For communicating math, we use numbers. For communicating facts, events, or detailed information words are quite appropriate and very effective. However, for communicating our emotions, our feelings, and our character, we can use almost anything! This is the absolutely necessary purpose of art: expressing what we feel or who we are. Art can express emotion just as appropriately and effectively as words are able to express what we think or what we know.”₁
“Everyone expresses themselves in the choices they make. The title “artist” is given to people who consciously choose to express a certain feeling to other people. If an art piece doesn’t clearly project a feeling, or doesn’t seem to project anything at all, the artist has failed. To use the parallel of thoughts and language to feelings and art; any art piece that vaguely excites an emotion or sets an incomplete atmosphere, is like a written story that is incomplete or has words missing, which makes the story unclear.”₁
- Art is consciously – on purpose – telling something without words, wanting others to understand what you are telling (or rather: feeling/experiencing).
- Self-expression is simply said; “being” yourself without much or any restrictions, almost like an instinctive thing.
Being able to let yourself go without worry about what others might think or how they might judge you. Doing what YOU feel like doing, not what others (society/culture) wants you to do. If this is done in public, then others will see you for who you really are. You, expressing yourself, will not have a clear message that can be put in to words. It will leave a kind of vibe or impression of who you are, depending on how extensive your self-expression is (how much you allow yourself to do what you really want). Its purpose is not to communicate to, or with others, but it is its side effect.
(about the first hip-hop generation)
They sprung from kids who had been born into the shadows of the baby boom generation, who never grew up expecting the whole world to be watching. What TV camera would ever capture their struggles and dreams? But invisibility was its own kind of reward; it meant you had to answer to no one except the others who shared you condition. It meant you became obsessed with showing and proving, distinguishing yourself and your originality above the crowd. It put you on a relentless quest to prove to them that you were bigger, wilder and bolder than circumstances dictated you should ever be, to try to generate something from nothing, something no one else had, until everyone around you had to admit that you had something they might never have, something that might even make other people -big, important people- stand up and take notice themselves, offer money, give you power, or try to crush your very soul. That was the key of having style.”₂
“Art should enable viewers to experience different feelings, both simple and complex, so they can become familiar with them and grow. Art gives people the power to communicate with and understand each other. Art also should provide its viewers with insight into their own feelings and emotions. ”Art is (in the words of Leo Tolstoy): “the human activity which consists in one man’s consciously conveying to others, by external signs, the feeling he has experienced, and in others being infected by those feelings and also experiencing them”. “₁
“A piece produced by an artist who claims that the meaning of his/her creation depends on the personal interpretation of an individual, is equivalent to a book filled with gibberish. It is therefore not really art at all. It is pure nonsense. If this so-called artist doesn’t know what he or she is trying to say, then there is no actual message and no genuine purpose to it. Something like that should never be called Art.”₁
“The assertion that art can be good art and yet be incomprehensible to a large number of people is so wrong, its consequences are so pernicious for art, and it is at the same time so widespread, so embedded in our notions, that no explanation of its utter incongruity can suffice.”₃
“What some people often seem to confuse, while explaining what made this meaningless “art” so good, is the respectable skill or creativity of an artist or performer with the art itself. Skills and creativity are merely tools for expressing feelings and emotions. They deserve their praise separately from the question of whether the art was good or not. So if the creativity and skill are the only positive things worth mentioning about an art piece, then there was no art involved, but merely an exposition of talented or hardworking people.”₁
“as it is possible to get people accustomed to rotten food, vodka, tobacco, opium, so it is possible to get them accustomed to bad art, which in fact is being done.”₃
“For artists that insist on making money, there is no choice but to follow this phony ritual and keep creating meaningless, absurd, and bizarre things for the pleasure of the rich and the opinion-less (who are more likely to talk about the price they paid for it than any possible meaning the work of art conveys). While true art is supposed to relieve, inspire, educate, and motivate, it is instead maligned by critics, who describe it as being inferior or old-fashioned.”₁
“Thus art schools are double pernicious for art: first, by destroying the capacity to produce real art in people who have the misfortune of attending these schools for seven or eight years of study; secondly, because they multiply by enormous quantities that counterfeit art which perverts the taste of the masses and with which our world is filled to overflowing.”₃
“With the lack of true art dominating our lives, we suffer the consequences. The unstable emotional trauma resulting from a lack of understanding of what we are feeling pushes us towards brainless and heartless lifestyles. We have little awareness of what life should feel like, and settle for being merely junkies for small hormonal shots that we get from pointless activities. A real tragedy is that we become blinded by the illusion of loneliness. We are convinced that no one can understand or relate to what we are feeling. We begin to think that we must be different from others or sick for feeling the way we do. ₁
In reality, we are all the same. We feel the same emotions, and have similar experiences in life. We are just taught to pretend that we don’t. We should not pretend that the heartless hardworking businessman is an icon. We should not regard the inability to experience or show emotions as a virtue.”₁
1) From the Intro of the biographical poem collection: Out Of Love by Daniel Maliy
2) From the book: Can’t stop Won’t stop by Jeff Chang
3) From the book: What is Art? By Leo Tolstoy
We should not confuse the “dancing” that is used for entertainment, with actual dancing. The sole purpose of what is presented in movies, television, and music videos, is to attract the general audience. The main problem with this, is that it already changed how most people view dancing. The dancing scene is getting infested by people who can do a few tricks, can please a crowd with gestures, and know where to smile when cameras are around. These people were real dancers once, but sold out. They spend more time on their appearance then on training dancing techniques, and mostly stay away from dance competitions out of fear of being judged on what they do instead of their looks.
Dancing is getting ruined because these entertainers are entrusted with the responsibility to judge competitions even though they lack the knowledge, or give workshops even though they lack the skills. Because they have famously been dubbed as “dancers” by the mass media, they attract a paying crowd for the events they are being hired for. This tends to happen more
and more now.
So once again, the rich get richer by exploiting and perverting, while hard work and integrity gets degraded and humiliated. A very effective business strategy.
In spite of this, true dancers will never go extinct. They will only become rare because of the financial burden that comes with it. But there are always people who are willing to go the extra mile for their passion. The unknowing revolutionaries that secretly inspire all people to believe that there is more to life than the propagated fame and fortune.
The dance style that has already endured the rise and fall of this entertainment exploitation, is B-boying. It survived on the dedicated shoulders of the few.
Any real b-boy can tell you: “Real dancing happens in the cypher”.