Art Shows make me wonder where art genius actually comes from. I read a theory once; or perhaps it is fact; that art stems from the right side of the brain. When I read about this, it made me feel inferior, as though I must use the wrong side of my brain and this is the reason I am unable to produce art. The premise being that if I simply switch to using the right side of my brain, instead of using the wrong side, I would suddenly, and spontaneously, become an artist. I just don’t know how to make that switch.
I envy the artist who can scrape a few lines into a hunk of clay, or throw some paint on a canvas, and suddenly and mysteriously end up with an incredible work of art loved by all. It really does seem to be sheer genius. I try to be artistic in this way, even concentrating on switching my brain to the right side of my brain. However, the wrong side remains firmly in control of my hands. It is terribly frustrating.
I have produced only one real work of art in my lifetime and that happened in fourth grade. It took me hours to get it right, but having found inspiration in a story about a dog and its pups, I drew my freehand representation of the dog, a Scottie, with just one black crayon on a sheet of school tablet paper. It looked a lot like a horse when I was done, and the nose was crooked, but it was art and apparently, on that day anyhow, I must have been using the right side of my brain.
I found hope recently for my wrong side of the brain dilemma when I attended an art show called “Line Drawings” at a local museum. This exhibit was a series of large stark white canvases, each completely blank save one thin line drawn with a pencil. They were all hung in nondescript black frames on the walls of several galleries. There were at least one hundred pieces in the exhibit and one single piece, positioned prominently on a wall right by the entryway, had a large ribbon reading “Best of Show”. This undoubtedly made the artist proud so I allowed extra time to observe it’s every detail. It was a huge blank sheet of white paper with a single perfectly formed dot about the size of a pin precisely at its center. It was very different from the others. Every other treasure had an actual line in the drawing. This one had a dot.
I deeply wanted to understand the internal struggle that brought about the use of a dot instead of a line on this piece. I realized this artist was deeply in touch with the right side of his or her brain. I imagined to myself the sleepless nights they must have spent contemplating the exact size of the dot; where precisely that dot should be placed on the canvas, and exactly how big the paper must be to make the dot seem…artistically speaking… real. The internal struggle must have been horrendous and I could almost feel their pain flowing from the canvas. The relief of finally placing pencil to canvas, twisting it round to form a dot, then the sheer agony of completion must have exhausted them completely.
In my minds eye I saw this artist sinking into an easy chair to watch “Wuthering Heights” for the twenty-first time on an old black and white TV. This is what all depleted, artistically inclined, individuals do before falling asleep for three days to wake again to some new artistic quest. As I observed the canvas, in full detail, its message spoke loudly to me and very, very clear. I am not using the wrong side of my brain after all.
© Copyright 2006 Scott Haas All rights reserved.