“Art is not, like science, logic of references but a release from references and rendition of immediate experience: a presentation of forms, images, or ideas in such a way that they will communicate, not primarily a thought or even a feeling, but an impact.” Joseph Campbell
I guess the term impact is what I’ve always called a raw response to something. I use the term raw quite often and I think what I’m referring to is that guttural…non-cerebral part of how we create and see. It is the primary source I draw from to make my work. I understand what Joseph Campbell means by impact, it’s when you feel like you were punched in the gut after seeing, hearing, reading something so raw, so honest it hurts. It takes us to a place that is beyond words, a primal place within ourselves.
Thinking along these lines makes me think about a dilemma I have had to contend with for many years. While I am making a sculpture, I ask myself when I should stop. Have I articulated enough to translate my idea? Does the amount of gesture/expression the sculpture poses create an impact or is it overdone, spelled out and too literal? Usually when I begin asking myself these questions it’s already too late; I’ve let outside influences and doubt in my consciousness instead of letting the work just be. I figure most representational artists go through this at some point in their lifetime. We don’t know we’ve gone too far until it’s too late and we’ve ruined a painting or sculpture because we’ve articulated too much. The older I get…the hungrier I am for less detail.
Why? Well I think too much is given away immediately to the viewer…they don’t need to sit with the work and absorb it or translate it for themselves. There is little room for magic. I am my 5 year olds student right now, he has no idea I am watching him make art, holding my breath when he takes huge broad and bold strokes with his oil stick. His art making is totally free. The compositions are incredible…it is the only work I will fall to sleep looking at on my bedroom wall. Perhaps this yearning for raw art making, if you will, is what attracts me to Folk Art, Art Brute and children’s art. It is simply as honest as you can get and it is powerful.
So, I find myself in the situation where Picasso was in which he said, “As we all know it is difficult to unlearn something but if impact is what we’re after, then I say never stop trying.