Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Hunger, The Void, The Logos and The Ultimate Gifts

If I had a gift for words this would be what I would say. Clint Watson says it for me in this wonderul article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

The Hunger, The Void, The Logos and The Ultimate Gifts

by Clint Watson

This Christmas week, your editor sits at his keyboard pecking out a living. I am driven to write.

Some days, I write computer code that becomes software that, hopefully, artists and others find useful...other days, like today, instead of functions and variables, words and sentences flow forth and become newsletters, journal entries and blog posts. Again, hopefully a few people find it useful. It's still quite humbling to think that anyone actually reads these missives of mine.

The Hunger

Quite frankly, I would probably do these things anyway, even if nobody used the software and nobody suffered through the missives. Writing computer code and writing down my thoughts on art, marketing, inspiration and success...well...those things are just something that I do. It's who I am. It's the way that I create.

You see, you and I are the same, dear artist. We have the same drive. There is a voice inside of each us yelling "I MUST create!" You've heard that voice. That voice is why you paint, sculpt, draw, take photographs, draw cartoons, make jewelry, etc, etc, etc.

We may work in different mediums, but we're all heeding the same call. Your medium may be paint, while mine is computer code, algorithms and functions...sentences, paragraphs and ideas.

Artist and cartoonist, Hugh MacLeod, calls this feeling "The Hunger." That's a good way to put it. I HUNGER to create.

Here's what Hugh says about "The Hunger":

The Hunger will give you everything.

And it will take from you, everything.

It will cost you your life, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

Welcome to The Hunger...It will never go away." [source]

i wanna create by Hugh MacLeod,

Interestingly, this Christmas season, I find myself asking, "WHERE does 'The Hunger' come from?"

The Void

To answer that, I have to back up a few years and share some very personal information. I hope you don't mind. Several years ago, I found myself experiencing an deep emptiness inside. I called this emptiness "The Void." (Interestingly, Hugh MacLeod's blog is called 'Gaping Void'. I don't really know why he named it Gaping Void, but for me that term has always represented "The Void" I felt many years ago. That's the great thing about art, the meaning can sometimes be different to the viewer than it is to its creator.)

At some point in their lives, a lot of people experience a similar sort of emptiness. We all try to fill it in different ways. Sometimes in positive ways: a relationship, exercise, travel. Sometimes in negative ways: overeating, alcohol addiction, gambling. But, you see, I've come to believe that there is only one "thing" that properly fills "The Void."

I believe this, because I had a supernatural encounter with that one "thing" that has filled my emptiness.

Now please bear with me. I haven't gone crazy. This is not an attempt to push any religious or other beliefs on you. I'm just opening up my heart and ideas and sharing with you.

Different people have different views on what this void-filling "thing" is. Some names people use are: The Universe, the Creator, Life-Force, and God.

The Logos

The ancient Greeks called this "force" Logos. Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC) established the term in Western philosophy as meaning both the source and fundamental order of the cosmos [source]. Philo (20 BC - 50 AD) used the term logos to mean the creative principle [source].

You see, I believe that this "force" . . . this Logos is the only thing that can fill "The Void."

Now, I'm certainly not wise enough or knowledgeable enough to know all of the forms and faces that Logos takes. In my case, I had a direct and supernatural encounter with Logos where it . . . He ... chose to reveal himself to me in the traditional Christian manner. For me, at least, "Logos" is Jesus. But it could be that Logos very well may reveal itself in a different manner to other people. Perhaps Logos connects with each person in the most-appropriate and effective way to reach that person. I don't know. I only know that "The Void" that I had experienced was instantly filled after that direct encounter with the logos.

The Gifts

Now here's where it gets really interesting. "The Void" was filled, but "The Hunger" intensified. I'm both satisfied and joyful, but also intensely driven...intensely HUNGRY... to create. Hence, as I started this letter: your editor sits at his keyboard pecking out a living.

You see, the Creator is, well, a Creator. We are created in His image. Logically, if we are created in the Creator's "image", then we are creators too. Thus, just like the Logos of the universe, we have a "hunger" to create.

Your creator has given you a remarkable gift with this Hunger...and you have also been given the talents you need to feed your Hunger.

Your artistic, creative talents are a direct gift from the universe. But the gift does not come without responsibilities. You are expected to use your gift and that is why you feel "The Hunger." It keeps you from getting complacent and squandering the gifts.

That is why, as Hugh MacLeod said, "The Hunger...will cost you your life...It will never go away."

Whatever/whoever gave you this hunger to create expects you to use it. But Why?

For all the rest of us, of course. Your talents and your drive are gifts to you from the Creator. In turn, the fruit of your talents, your art, is your gift back to the Creator...and also to all of the rest of us.

Art affects people deeply. I've seen grown men weep in front of paintings and grown women brought to sheer joy from art. Perhaps people are so deeply affected because they are connecting with the logos via the hand of the artist. Don't ever minimize the importance of your art, your gift, to the rest of the world. You see, art really does change the world.

So this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Logos, think about the blessings that have been given to you. And think about the blessings you can bestow on others through the gift of your artwork.

As for me, I will thank God for our encounter, I will thank Him for you and your art .... and for the beauty that the Logos has brought into the world via your hands.

Have a very Merry Christmas!


Clint Watson

Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - Now, go change the world.

PPS - We will not be sending a FineArtViews letter tomorrow, Christmas Day. We'll resume our normal schedule on Sunday. Have a great Holiday.


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