Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Inspired by Mistakes

In my work of the past couple of years I have been studying the "fool" and the "Fool," agreeing with Shakespeare that the latter is an enlightened former.  Just now I've come upon a reference to this in "Being Wrong" by Kathryn Schulz. She describes how there is an optimistic model of wrongness whereby one who dives into a foolish endeavor (a mistake) might come out all the wiser in the end. In her words "...erring is vital to any process of invention and creation."

While Schulz is referring to mistakes/learning in every walk of life, I find this model of thinking points directly to the center of quality art. I have always been of the opinion that perfection must include a flaw in order for it to be believable. We flawed humans need to see this flaw of humanity in art if we are to relate with any sense of depth, and true perfection has immense depth.

Striving to create art forms depicting human perfection is a valiant ideal held by most artists. Only a lucky few are able to achieve this goal, and we viewers are lucky indeed to benefit from experiencing these master works of perception and execution. I see these master works in museums, occasionally in galleries and homes, and delightfully and surprisingly, in the instinctive work of very young children.

It takes a bold mind (or is it a fool's mind?) to break honored rules of conduct in order to open up inspiringly fresh and profound worlds of discovery. Many times I have advised myself and others: "use your mistakes ~ you might find yourself in a far more interesting world of thought." It's a messy existence, trusting mistakes to lead one out of the haze-maze towards a hopeful clarity, but oh so deliciously alive is the process.