An Introduction to Right Brain
It's not the LSD. It's the hallucination.
As a point of distinction, there have always been those far more interested
in accomplishment than achievement. Many confuse the two as being one in
the same, but theyre not. Achievement is nothing more than just one,
singular accomplishment possessing no particular superiority,
relative to other completed tasks that require aptitude, talent, or proficiency.
Many artists know or sense this. Others who create require that it be explained
to them. Ergo, this paragraph.
A little too esoteric for your Right Brain? Okay ... Said another way: Writing
the book is the accomplishment. Selling the book is the achievement.
There are those who would argue that achievement is the result of a
series of accomplishments. But, in fact, most accomplishments are
also comprised of multi-level components. For the Right-Brain, its
a pointless argument and an unnecessary consideration. For all that matters
is the end result, regardless of the pathway to ones arrival.
But while the rational Left-Brain function can become confused when referencing
or consulting with its emotional Right-Brain counterpart, the artist has
always needed to be somewhat conversational with 'Left-Side'. For while
appreciation has seldom required it, an active involvement in the arts most
often involves the application of tools, whether they be brushes,
musical instruments or even ballet slippers. Yes, even computer-based
word processors. In the ideal, when the apparatus has been determined with
the selective assistance of the Left-Brain, the tool itself
falls into the background. If well chosen, the Right-Brain can soon return
to the emotional familiarity and comfort (or angst) of creating.
emotion has sometimes been associated with the tools of creation,
and there are varying degrees of connection in this bipolar relationship.
Its far more difficult to have an emotional relationship with a camera
lens than, say, a musical instrument. After all, few assign affectionate
pet-names to their lenses. But guitars? Oh, yes. And while losing a lens
may often result in a telephone conversation with the insurance company,
the loss of a musical instrument can prompt a call to the local Depression
& Suicide Crisis Center (many artists already have the number at hand).
Yes, there are those who have become emotional over a camera the one
that had traveled with them across Europe, perhaps, both sharing a common
experience (as thought). But the emotional connection to an instrument
can be profound even when its never left home. Its more
often connected to a time or perhaps several of them.
This is not to necessarily place the seemingly organic Zen of musical instruments
in higher esteem than the cold steel and aromatic plastic of hardware, mind
you. Rather, I speak of a Right-Brain consciousness that is often distracted
by the mechanisms that merely assist in creation. And when such tools dominate
the endeavors of the emotional Right-Brain, youre probably better off
living in the more analytical Left-Brain, crunching numbers as an Actuarial
Curiously and, perhaps, disturbingly there are now more night
courses and Community Center classes devoted to the use of PhotoShop, than
there are for photography, itself. Its been argued that these are of
higher relevance serving a greater need because a piece of
software is more complex. But no. Thats a lie. In art,
theres an even higher degree of complexity, known as nuance. Known
as subtlety. Known as self-expression. Perhaps it can be said that nuance
or the articulation of emotion cant be taught. But it can be
guided and developed. And much of education has often missed such considerations.
What, after all, is a Liberal Arts education other than an attempt to examine
and elucidate Right-Brain intuition and psyche with the clinical analysis
of Left-Brain packaging? And, yes, I was a Liberal Arts major.
"I sometimes think that the problem with the current state of the Media
Arts is that actors think they can sing, singers think they can act ... and
everyone thinks they can fucking direct. Pick two, I say ...
Okay ... three ... screw it."
- Joseph -
Its been said that the best guidance for the artist is in the examination
of works by others who work in ones chosen medium. Writers should read.
Musicians and composers should listen. Painters and photographers should
and see. But this isnt entirely true not as presented.
Composers should read, listen, look and see. All artists of
any medium should have a familiarity with most other
mediums. It not only makes for the better artist, it makes for the better
and more enriched individual. Just don't feel obligated to
actively participate in all mediums. You may end up producing a
real 'Super 8' mess ... You don't want that.
Now, with all of the above said, one may wonder why I devote so much page
space to the tools of artistic creation in the Right-Brain column.
I do it, in part, so one can hasten the selection of brushes and canvas
for new and evolving artists, in particular allowing them to
get on with the creative process, itself. And yes, the apparatus can
be interesting often more so as it relates to some of the older
tools and techniques
the ones that spurred and helped define a generation
of artistic vision and innovation long before the often mechanized
and entirely soulless output of today.
But most of all, let your Right-Brain wander and imagine, letting the Left-Brain
appliances fade into the background, to offer little more than a
supporting role. Its not the LSD, its the hallucination.