Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thought Patterns

I happened to visit the Brickbottom Open Studios annual event in Somerville, MA recently (Sunday 11/24) and I dropped by the studio of a brilliant artist, Josh Wisdumb Spivack. I wasn't there for too long, but his work is stunning...almost, seemingly a living representation of mental states on paper or other medium. And then I picked up this postcard that he left on a table as a gift to visitors and on which is printed these words:

"Visualize yourself in a sphere of intricate thought constantly creating something out of nothing. Everything is connected through the rhythm of creativity. Think to the point where visual thoughts became the art. Drawing, painting, and sculpting reflect life as inspiration. When I put pen to paper or brush to canvas ideas explode...balancing my existence, connecting the motion of ideas." -- Josh Wisdumb Spivack 

"Everything is connected through the rhythm of creativity. Think to the point where visual thoughts became the art." Isn't this the code of all creativity? I think that this is why art is so inspirational, because it somehow codifies the secrets of escapement from the limitations of "normal" consciousness. We are stuck in our "reality" replete with limitations that seem intractable; reality seems immovable with people, opinions, circumstances of having and having not when suddenly, from nowhere a solution or a novel perspective emerges. I always find the experience amazing when a problem I am wrestling with suddenly vanishes with the flash of an idea. In fact, it happened to me only a couple of hours ago, struggling to find a solution and then, suddenly, with a gentle shift of focus, all was well, and reality—at least for now, seems to be my friend.

I related to Spivack's words, I think, because of the never-ending need for inspiration to escape the mundanity—or worse, that can stifle or plague human existence. And I refer to the mundanity of both our individual and collective existence. We become locked into our existing habits, beliefs, institutions and paradigms in a sort of intellectual paralysis that tells us or lies to us that this is the way that it is and it will never change. But we have just witnessed the accolades for Nelson Mandela in the wake of his death; he would not accept the atrocity of apartheid and against all odds he and his people prevailed. Tired old explanations can at times have nothing more going on other than that they are old and that their constant repetition tires the mind to accept what need not be accepted.

The artists' mentality is a virtue that some philosophers have recognized, Nietzsche most clearly comes to mind. However, there are other streams of philosophical thought that would discount art because art is, after all, only art! But the truth is that the best philosophy is also art, and that the greatest value of both art and philosophy may be that of inventing or discovering new perspectives. "Thoughts become art." But it also follows that on a sublime plane art is thought.

You can visit Josh Wisdumb Spivack's website at http://www.visualthoughtpattern.com/

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