Is it art if you leave it in your drawer and show it to no one?
As for what counts as Art, for this question, I include all manner of artistic expression, poetry, photography, writing, painting, etc.
I would answer 'yes', it is art when you make it, whatever you do with it.
Then there is the matter of Expression. Is it expression while it sits in your drawer? Well, perhaps....
If you wait long enough, whatever was sitting in that drawer will eventually be freed to become expression, because someday all the questions and criticisms, all the proof of your genius or ineptitude will fall onto the shoulders of your descendants. It will be for them to figure you out, decide who you really were and what you would have wanted done with the work you did not share with the world.
My whole life, I've felt like I had something to say, but fear and self-doubt held me back, not just from sharing, but often from just creating. The more established I became, the more risky self-expression felt.
The moment I leaned over the edge and looked down into the cave, I could feel the cool air wafting up, I could hear the size of it and sense its depth in the echos of the wind. I couldn't tell exactly what I had been holding back, but I could feel its potential, my potential. When I gave myself permission to take the risk of finding out what was in there, then I could create.
Making art is inherently dangerous and risky, and wonderful! Sharing it is even better. If I can inspire someone to say, "I could do that better than him," that's great, do it. If on the other hand someone says, "If he can make that crazy idea work, why can't I make my idea work?" Great too. Explore your own cave; it's worth the risk.
BIG WHITE FACE
When I set out to render visible
and the unseen structure
I hadn’t a moment’s concern
that I would instead
reveal my own secrets
for all to see
and nothing else.
Big White Face is an ekphrastic poem written for the image of the same name (shown above) from my book: Seven Dimensions of the Unseen, poetry and abstract photography of constructed lightscapes, Copyright © 2016 Jonathan Pazer. All Rights Reserved.
POETRY / Poems & Images
Jonathan Pazer is a poet and photographer living in Mendocino, California. See his photography at Mendocino Coast Photographers Gallery, Fort Bragg, CA.