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Soul?

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Old 03-05-2007, 09:52 AM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Soul?

I find myself in a reflective mood this morning (you have been warned).

As I try to do as often as possible, I was out on the web to explore what creative folk are putting in their galleries (using "gallery" in the loosest sense of the word, since it's not limited to just photos or just music or just movies or just anything at all). I'll usually start with a wild hair concerning some new software or technique, then get google all over it until I lose interest (sometimes quickly, sometimes it takes the real world to drag me away).

But I do tend to be attracted more to the enthusiast sites rather than commercial sites.

Which brings me to my topic. This morning's batch of galleries left me technically impressed but emotionally empty. I pondered if the fault lie in the medium or the message (or me). I saw clever, and I saw sentimental, and I saw imagination, and I saw skill. But what I didn't see was...soul.

Not soul in the sense of syncopated beats or the pain of an unfaithful lover, but soul in the sense of having life. Of being wholly and separately alive on its own. Lacking that Promethian spark, all that remains are remains. Piles of dead art-like objects. Post-composition, but without the capacity even to decompose.

Now perhaps my expectations are too high. Perhaps, even, it's my own fault for limiting my search to enthusiast work (after all, if they were "good", they'd be more than enthusiasts, right?). However, I (being me) think there's more to it than that. Which is where you come in.

Can an image or song or sculpture or movie have life on its own? Is that the last step in the creative process, beyond concept, beyond technical mastery: imparting soul? Or am I just overly caffienated?
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:13 AM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Soul?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Nelson
...
Can an image or song or sculpture or movie have life on its own? Is that the last step in the creative process, beyond concept, beyond technical mastery: imparting soul? Or am I just overly caffienated?
In my experience, there are images, movies, songs that have changed my mood without my "permission". I would say these have "soul", a "life of their own", or some extra spark that does NOT come from within ME. When I am in a good mood, or just a normal mood (nothing going on around me that makes me unhappy/happy etc.), then I am affected by many images, songs, etc. partly because I am working with them to perceive some emotion. When I am in an unhappy mood, or an angry mood, and do not wish to perceive anything other than sadness/anger/hopelessness -- whatever, there have been times that I have been brought out of that mood unexpectedly by music, images, or even a movie -- it seemed to me that those songs/images had such power that they changed my mood without my intention. I do believe in the power of artistic creativity to stimulate something in my very core being, or soul. Each person might be touched by something different, but there are those images that reach across cultures, genders, time -- that are able to touch our humanity.

There is no such thing as being OVERLY caffeinated...
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:46 AM
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Re: Soul?

Don't know that I understand what either of you are talking about (but then I'm not really an "Arty" type).

There have certainly been images and sounds that have affected me at the time, but how much of that was down to the piece, and how much was simply the frame of mind I was in is impossible for me to say.

I've never yet seen or heard anything that's had any really profound and lasting effect on me, but then perhaps I just don't have that type of imagination. I certainly have never seen or heard a piece with a "soul" of its own.

For me it's just good or bad, liked or hated, with a series of graduations between the extremes.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:14 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Soul?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Richardson
...I've never yet seen or heard anything that's had any really profound and lasting effect on me, but then perhaps I just don't have that type of imagination. I certainly have never seen or heard a piece with a "soul" of its own....
I don't know that a "lasting" effect is necessarily a criteria that I would use -- the effect is usually repeatable when I view the same image again, but I might not think of it for months at a time, just like I don't think of some people that I don't work/live with for months at a time -- but when I do think of them, I feel the connection again.

Any feeling of real connection with these?

http://www.pbase.com/clarkwil/image/41663445

http://www.pbase.com/dave1/image/67274151

http://www.pbase.com/annapagnacco/image/50722030

http://www.lanting.com/fineprints/ especially http://www.lanting.com/fineprints/detail.php?fpPage=4

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 03-05-2007 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 03-05-2007, 05:00 PM
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Re: Soul?

That's what you get for "reflecting" on a Monday morning!

Seriously, however, ...
Quote:
...technically impressed but emotionally empty
... is a good way to sum up the modern world.

In the "golden" (artistic, that is) years, you spent your whole life studying technique; you had to be devoted to you Art; you would spend years as an apprentice to a master. (and make our own paint)

Now I can come home from work (not much Art in finances and accounting) and do a clone painting, arrange some music, pose some 3-D models and still have time to watch the latest Battlestar G. before going to bed.
It's just too easy to produce something.

It's a lot harder to produce something with "soul", and to be honest, how many people (ruling out Doug on a Monday morning) would see any difference?

....

I've heard that a good remedy for over-caffienation is to have a good hot cup of coffee. Always works for me!

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Old 03-05-2007, 05:20 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Soul?

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Any feeling of real connection with these?
Nice pictures CJ, technically proficient and enjoyable to view, but I wouldn't say they have "soul", because I don't believe an inanimate object can ever have soul.

Sure some images can sometimes evoke emotions, but I believe that is a long way from what Doug was trying to describe. But as I said earlier I don't believe I have the type of imagination that would ever make that kind of deep connection.

But hey the world would be a really boring place if we were all the same, and if it works for you I'm happy it does.
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Old 03-05-2007, 05:55 PM
Walt_ Walt_ is offline
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Re: Soul?

interesting reflection Doug


first you remind me my gallery needs to be updated...
then I am reminded that there probably isn't much soul reflected there
what I hope is perhaps observable is that there has been some exercise in creativity... some spark of potential

I also observed a similar feeling of my own is what draws me to collaborative projects... perhaps they do still lack soul, but there's some life, something spontaneous and intangeable.. perhaps out of control... in them...


meh... maybe not soul
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:35 PM
smak smak is offline
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Re: Soul?

>>>>>>> Which brings me to my topic. This morning's batch of galleries left me technically impressed but emotionally empty. I pondered if the fault lie in the medium or the message (or me).

My thought here is that it is your mood today that is influencing your emotional responses to what you are seeing. Not the pictures.Why? Because you say that everything seems lacking. A general sense of disappointment in the work you are seeing. A person's mood can color everything. Looking at photos last week was exhilerating; today - blah. Doing your laundry one day can be magical and fun, the next time - a crushing burden.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:25 PM
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Re: Soul?

Yes. I can't even say anything. Just, yes. Love, Meg Happy Monday!!!
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:47 PM
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Re: Soul?

I agree with byRo. Not everyone will notice or care, but some art is just too easily put together to truly have soul. You can have technique without passion, and passion without technique, and hard work without the other stuff and vice-versa, and all will usually leave you feeling flat. It's when all these (and maybe something extra, intangible) meet, when a piece of art is really magic.
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