Tarot Collectors Forum Home 
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register

Creative inspiration?
 Moderated by: tarotcol
New Topic Printer Friendly
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 09:49 am
   
1st Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
On another thread, in a different context, Adam commented that

AdamMcLean wrote: We must accept such irrationality as one of the driving forces behind artistic creativity.
I've started this thread to see if anyone wants to discuss this question. 


As I said there:

This is an interesting idea. .... I wonder if it's true--that irrationality is a driving force of artistic creativity. (This is not intended as a challenge to you, Adam--I'm just thinking about the idea of the "driven artists" whose grand obsessions, demons etc. goads them on to greater heights etc.)

I'd love to hear what the artists on the forum think of this idea and their own experience with irrationality as a motivator to creative work.


Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 11:42 am
   
2nd Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Well - in that I don't see how you CAN say that art is rational, it would have to be true, no ?

How is the Mona Lisa rational ?
How is Bach's B minor Mass ?
How is any work of art rational ?

What IS rational; what do we mean ? (oops, do we need a new thread ?)

I don't think it necessarily means driven....

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 07:58 pm
   
3rd Post
Demian Brennan-Gould
Member


Joined: Tue Oct 30th, 2007
Location: Illinois USA
Posts: 294
Status: 
Offline
"Creativity" is all about breaking things the way we want them to be broken, 

not at all perfect because that would be the static and lifeless materials.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 08:15 pm
   
4th Post
philebus
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 22nd, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 46
Status: 
Offline
Well, I would understand artistic creativity to refer to composition, that the artist has composed a work of various elements in an original, or at least, an effective way to achieve a goal (such as to express something, provoke thought, represent an event, etc).

To talk of this process being driven by irrationality could refer to the motivation being irrational or the the goal being irrational. Or, it could be the disregard for any goal, creation without object, perhaps even without intent. The latter option seems more charactistic of some surrealism to me (Dali often seemed to paint with the simple goal of having a laugh - all the way to the bank).

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 08:55 pm
   
5th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
philebus wrote: Dali often seemed to paint with the simple goal of having a laugh - all the way to the bank.


I think this is caricature. Dali surely painted for the joy of making his art. He took great delight in exploring his technique, and often dared himself to create certain effects, painting  visual jokes and puns.  He was surely not driven by the making of money. Just take a look at the mass of wonderful original images that flowed from him during his early period.  The view of Dali as mercenary was especially pushed onto him by Andre Breton, who after he had fallen out with Dali, bestowed upon Dalí the anagram on his name Salvador Dali  = Avida Dollars (Greedy for Dollars). Breton could easily slip into the role of unforgiving patriarch.

Dalí enjoyed this description and used the anagram as a nickname. He played games with this criticism that he was only in art for the money. I am sure Breton was rather hurt by his critical remark being surrealistically turned on its head by the creative joker Dali.

Later in life, when Dali's health was failing he was exploited by people around him, who got him to sign papers to which they could later add artwork.

During the heights of his creativity, Dali developed, what he called his paranoiac- critical method. This was a method he devised to make irrational connections between objects or images. This, Andre Breton approved of.

It is as absurd to say that Dali created his art just to make money as to say that Bob Dylan created his songs only to make money. Both of these artists  were sucessful financially, but one cannot realistically say they created their art purely for money.

 

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 09:30 pm
   
6th Post
Papageno357
Banned
 

Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 203
Status: 
Offline
AdamMcLean wrote

It is as absurd to say that Dali created his art just to make money as to say that Bob Dylan created his songs only to make money. Both of these artists  were sucessful financially, but one cannot realistically say they created their art purely for money.

 

why is that absurd? it is reality.

artists are not above understanding how to capitalize on fame, they often spend a lifetime working towards that very goal. it is the lucky ones who are able to strike that delicate balance between creative gratification for its own sake and earning a handsome living doing what they love most.

certainly there is the gratification of having ones work recognized and appreciated but there are also the financial rewards, and they are certainly entitled to reap those benefits like anybody else.

and then, there are some people who do in-fact use the marketing power of a name purely for profit. there are any number of ill-qualified people who call themselves "artists" but the basis of their success is in the marketing of their personas.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 09:34 pm
   
7th Post
philebus
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 22nd, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 46
Status: 
Offline
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he only created for money. But sometimes, as with a lot of artists, I do feel that the joke is on us to some degree. When a new way of doing things is found, it is not uncommon for it to be milked a little too much - and not just from financial pressures. Dali was capable of genuine genius and humour though and I don't deny that - it's the reason that his art has retained it's greatness beyond the fad. Of course, when he may have milked the ideas, he did it with the saving grace of talent - and so, if he laughed his way to the bank sometimes, I can forgive that and still enjoy his work. (I suspect that history will be less kind to some more recent artists who have enjoyed being a fad though.)

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 10:05 pm
   
8th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
philebus wrote: Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he only created for money. But sometimes, as with a lot of artists, I do feel that the joke is on us to some degree. When a new way of doing things is found, it is not uncommon for it to be milked a little too much - and not just from financial pressures.

Surely artists, once they become established, have to ask a reasonable market price for their paintings. After all, if they don't set a price close to what the market will accept, then gallery owners and agents will just exploit this and they will end up making the money from the artist's work.

However, I think in the case of Dali, he was not driven by market forces when he created some of his wonderful early and middle period paintings. Here, surely one sees a creative artist caught up in the delights of making images. I cannot understand anyone not seeing this.

I don't think Henry Moore thought much about money when he was shaping one of his reclining figures - he was caught up in the realisation of the forms he was depicting, and neither is Louise Bourgeois driven by money concerns when she creates her sculptural pieces, but one is not so sure when it comes to Andy Wharhol, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Gilbert and George or Damien Hirst. There are artists whose work is shaped by the need to embrace popular mass culture and is premised on making money. Such artist are really quite cerebral in their approach - rather than giving themselves up to the inspiration of some irrational ideas, they instead derive their work through thinking clearly about what effect they want it to have on their target audience.

 

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 10:17 pm
   
9th Post
mythos
Member


Joined: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 315
Status: 
Offline
Having managed to get High Distinctions in 'Philosophy of Art and Education', and 'Rationality' in my Philosophy major, you would think that I could go someway towards discussing this topic rationally, or maybe even knowledgeably.  I can't.  I don't know how I managed those marks because I didn't understand the subjects at all.

From my own perspective, bringing money into the equation of 'doing' art, completely dampens any creativity I have.  It becomes 'work', a 'job', and looses all it's freedom and autonomy.

Is art irrational?  Or is the source from which art arises from within irrational?  For me 'yes'.  I have a sudden flash of inspiration.  I then try to capture it.  If I am painting a figure, then I feel on my own body where I need to shade and so on.  I have 'voices' within which will argue about colour, technique, ideas, expression.  When I was in my deck painting phase, I knew days before I finished a painting what the next one would be.  Sometimes there is music which asks to be played while I paint a particular painting.

For all the decks I have, I don't look at them for ideas.  I don't look at art books.  I don't go to exhibitions.  I might look up a correspondence if I am getting 'esoteric', but not necessarily.  I paint what happens.  I am always surprised by the outcome.  The painting always goes through many changes.  In fact ... although I am surrounded by my work, a part of me is still very surprised by the fact that I created it.

And, when I 'showed' some of my Tarot paintings at Tarot Cafe and was asked questions, no-one was more surprised than me that I could talk about them and explain their symbolism etc.  I didn't know the information was there until it poured out of my mouth.

Rational?  For me ... no, not at all.

Of course, this doesn't mean that anyone else's experience is even remotely similar.  I find the whole process soothing, even though it is hard work, because my usual tendency is to over-think everything.  This 'creative' process, balances that out.  I need it.

mythos:)

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 11th, 2008 07:35 pm
   
10th Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
mythos - funny you should say that.

I did my degree in music. A friend, who was much more talented than I, didn't. When asked why, she said she loved music and was not prepared to make it her job, as that would spoil it for her. She wanted it to remain a joy.

I thought she was nuts. (I do that !)

Years later, when I was briefly making a living from it, I realised she was spot on. I HATED doing it. It was soul-destroying. I took to working in a doctor's practice and went back to enjoying music. I will NEVER try to earn from it again - I value it too much. I don't know how artists can cope. (I think it would have been different had I been a performer, mind.... I can see that it should !)

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 11th, 2008 07:38 pm
   
11th Post
skad1
Member


Joined: Thu Sep 20th, 2007
Location: Dallas, Texas USA
Posts: 1255
Status: 
Offline
This is a tuff one, to define creativity.  Actually, if we pull this off, the psychologists will want to know, I think they have been trying to understand it since the field of psychology started.

I agree with Mythos that sometimes money can ruin the creative process.  From personal experience, I used to do fancy calligraphy as a hobby.  I was talked into doing it to sell at art and crafts fairs.  I ended up completely quiting, having to do only the ones that sold, or sold better, and having to do them to a schedule, took all the joy out of it.  I haven't touched a pen for over 15 years, and have no desire ever to do so again.

On the other side, money is the stick that is used to measure success.  And if an artist doesn't sell their work, they have trouble eating.   Was it better when artists had patrons? They didn't have to worry if their art sold, they just had to keep the patron happy.  In any case, alot of art only increases in value at the death of the artist, which really sucks, especially for the artist.  Other people make more money from their art than they ever did.

I have wondered about the tie between creativity and psychological problems.  So many great artists seem to be driven, not by financial reasons, but by an inner demon, or what we now call depression, or bi-polar.  Think van Gogh or Toulouse-Lautrec.  I have wondered how many great artists are taking anti-depressants or other meds, and are personally happier, but are less creative or innovative in their work.

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 12:32 am
   
12th Post
mythos
Member


Joined: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 315
Status: 
Offline
I missed a documentary recently on the link between psychological illnesses, even Tourette's syndrome and creativity.  Looked good but my aerial failed at the crucial moment.

There is a very interesting book by Anthony Storr, psychiatrist, who challenges the view that it is only through relationships that we find happiness and are at our creative best.  He talks about a wealth of people, Beethoevnm Goya, Wittgenstein and many more and their combination of solitude and creativity.

We've all heard the negative 'He was a loner' comment following mass murders and such like, but Storr argues that a person who can live alone, with themselves, even if not creative, are more mature.  I think that there probably is a link between so-called mental illness, a high need for solitude and creativity. 

The 'loners' probably are in need of direction for their energies.  In societies which applaud, nay demand, extraversion, and abhor intorversion, it would be only too easy for an undirected and unsupported creative person who is overwhelmed by too my external stimuli to tip over the edge into an explosion of misplaced energy.

Book:  Anthony Storr, Solitude, HarperCollins Publishers, London, 1997 reprint ISBN 0 00 654349 9

Worth a read.

mythos:)

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 05:19 pm
   
13th Post
nicole
Member


Joined: Sun Jan 6th, 2008
Location: Chicagoland, Illinois USA
Posts: 779
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote: On another thread, in a different context, Adam commented that

AdamMcLean wrote: We must accept such irrationality as one of the driving forces behind artistic creativity.
I've started this thread to see if anyone wants to discuss this question. 


 

The fact that I volunteered to create a card pretty much defines irrationality.  That said, the forces behind creation, artistic or otherwise, must be too numerous to imagine and thus probably include irrationality. 

Of course what appears rational to one person may be far from it to another.

I think seeing things with an irrational twist would be a plus :)

Nicole

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 12:04 pm
   
14th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
The Rider Waite deck was designed by A.E. Waite, and though he did not do the artwork, it arose through his inspiration. A.E. Waite had so many irrational beliefs, he was a member of the Theosophical Society, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and a whole slew of various magical and mystical orders.

Aleister Crowley similarly was the insipration behind the Thoth deck. It is obvious even from a small reading of Crowley that he was deeply immersed in irrational beliefs.

We can go on and on listing tarot decks, the creators of which were inspired by irrational beliefs, but here we can see the two most influential decks of the modern period, arose out of, or were inspired by irrational beliefs.

Thus I don't think we can criticise a tarot artist or creator for relying on their irrational beliefs as the basic inspiration for their deck. And when it comes to irrational beliefs, there is no meaningful way of making value judgements upon these. Accept one and you have to accept all.

 

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 01:01 pm
   
15th Post
Papageno357
Banned
 

Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 203
Status: 
Offline
this has been taken out of proper context. the criticism was not about irrationality as a basis for creative inspiration.

ahclem was making a very valid point that he (justifiably) finds it unacceptable to patronize an individual who is retailing a line of products claiming that these are treatments for a variety of ailments; and as he points out, we find no evidence that Ms. Pedley is a licensed medical professional. This boils down to a question of ethics.

one of the most imprtant rules in Tarotdom is Thou shalt NOT dispense advice regarding serious medical issues. it is is in fact illegal in some countries to do so.

I have no problems with what people collect, buy what you please, but I prefer to be more discriminating.


Last edited on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 01:04 pm by Papageno357

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 01:58 pm
   
16th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
Papageno357 wrote: this has been taken out of proper context. the criticism was not about irrationality as a basis for creative inspiration.





I thought that this thread was about irrationality and creative inspiration.


 
he (justifiably) finds it unacceptable to patronize an individual who is retailing a line of products claiming that these are treatments for a variety of ailments; and as he points out, we find no evidence that Ms. Pedley is a licensed medical professional. This boils down to a question of ethics. one of the most imprtant rules in Tarotdom is Thou shalt NOT dispense advice regarding serious medical issues. it is is in fact illegal in some countries to do so.
Ms. Pedley lives in the UK where it is legal to practice alternative medicine without being a licensed medical professional. It is quite usual here in the UK.  People can choose whether to go to the Health Service or use the services of a healer, or a whole host of alternative therapies.  I am sure the same situation applies in many states in the USA.

 


 

Last edited on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 02:00 pm by AdamMcLean

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 02:27 pm
   
17th Post
Papageno357
Banned
 

Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 203
Status: 
Offline
I assume you would have no issues then with seeking out any of Ms. Pedley's remedies in the event of ill health.

Personally, I would prefer the assessment of a licensed medical professional, I wonder what they would have to say about it

really, this line of reasoning is extraordinary.

many things are technically legal, but they are nonetheless unethical, and that certainly applies to many arenas of collecting whether we are talking about humble Tarot cards,  blood diamonds or paintings in major collections with questionable provenance and possible ties to Nazi atrocities

Certainly people are free to make choices, whether or not they are defensible is another question entirely.


Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 02:48 pm
   
18th Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Can we put these latest posts over in the Soulworkers thread. This thread was (well, began as) a very interesting discussion about whether creators of art are by definition irrational - that sort of thing. The Soulworkers deck, alternative medicine  and Ms Pedley are NOT strictly relevant to that discussion.

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 03:16 pm
   
19th Post
Papageno357
Banned
 

Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 203
Status: 
Offline
feel free to move this........feel free to delete it altogther

although, since other offending posts made by unbalanced persons claiming to be stalked and such are left to idle (certainly not a good reflection on this forum) I cannot see why this particular opinion should be singled out for exclusion.

however, it is apparent to me that logic is applied rather slectively and conveniently to justify untenable positions, and any critique about the qualities of a particular deck whether they be made by myself, ahclem, Palestrina or anybody else for that matter is percveived as a personal slight.

This attitude prohibits any chance of a reasonable dialogue; it is an obstacle which I find too difficult to navigate, therefore, I will remove myself from further participation in this forum and Adam need not fear that he will be unduly exercised.


Last edited on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 03:17 pm by Papageno357

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 04:26 pm
   
20th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
Tarot often incorporates religious ideas and arises out of the religious preconceptions and beliefs of the individual tarot creator or artist.  Religion is, by its very nature, based on irrationality. No religion is free from this, they just manifest and incorporate it differently. Thus we find decks obviously created by people with strong Christian beliefs, and others based on Paganism, Kabbalah, strange aspects of neo-shamanism, magical ideas - I even have a deck based on a strange ufo-cult.

It seems to me beyond dispute that tarot art often arises out of various species of irrationality. This is not a pejorative thought but actually a recognition of the strength of the tarot emblems to inspire people to create decks based on their particular belief system.  The emblematic and symbolic structure of tarot, gives it such amazingly coherent imagery, which nevertheless can be shaped and moulded by artists, like living protoplasm. In that sense tarot is protean (readily taking on varied shapes, forms, or meanings). It is its lack of a rational and easily explained structure, that makes it so useful and allows people to shape and mould it to their belief system.

 

 

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 05:09 pm
   
21st Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Papageno357 wrote: feel free to move this........feel free to delete it altogther

although, since other offending posts made by unbalanced persons claiming to be stalked and such are left to idle (certainly not a good reflection on this forum) I cannot see why this particular opinion should be singled out for exclusion.

however, it is apparent to me that logic is applied rather slectively and conveniently to justify untenable positions, and any critique about the qualities of a particular deck whether they be made by myself, ahclem, Palestrina or anybody else for that matter is percveived as a personal slight.

This attitude prohibits any chance of a reasonable dialogue; it is an obstacle which I find too difficult to navigate, therefore, I will remove myself from further participation in this forum and Adam need not fear that he will be unduly exercised.



I didn't ask for it to be deleted; I asked that it be placed in the thread about Ms Pedley and her deck. This thread was not specific to any one deck; it was a broader discussion - I'm sorry you feel that way.

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 07:56 am
   
22nd Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
I think we can separate out the question of irrationality from a different, more contentious issue, that of assessing someone's work (or perhaps simply deciding whether to buy it) in light of aspects of character that may be questionable.  Certainly there's a good debate to be had on that topic for those so inclined; I am sorry to see people taking it personally when there is disagreement.  In real life I think we'd agree to disagree and if the discussion got too hot, perhaps walk away from that topic but try to remain friends.  As the US presidential campaigns progress, a lot of us are practicing "walking away but staying friends."

On the topic of this thread, I had thought of two senses in which artistic inspiration may be "irrational."

One is described by Adam:  Irrational or perhaps "nonrational" beliefs that underlie the iconography used in card design and other aspects of a deck like the ordering and naming of cards, etc.  The belief system of the artist  or designer is intentionally put into the image.  Their "theory" deliberately appears in the cards, in other words.

The second sense of "irrationality" in creativity is described by Mythos:  the feeling that the source of one's images is deeply mysterious and unknowable, that "something" is expressing itself but what IS it? 

I have experienced both, in writing and in doing my (very very limited) art.  In writing, for example, one more or less knows what to say but sometimes is totally surprised to find a new idea emerging from God-knows-where.  And furthermore, the particular turn of phrase, or the metaphor that emerges, may seem to come from "nowhere" and at least from nowhere as puny as my own puny mind.

In the case of the deck that inspired this discussion, I noticed nothing in the images I've seen to suggest a "mystical"origin.  Fraud, delusion, authentic experience?  Who knows.

:?

Back to the more general question:

There are tarot images I look at and think:  this artist is portraying a mystical experience.  It is profound and obvious.  It may not be appealing, but there it is.

There are tarot images I look at and think:  This artist is trying to convey a mystical theory with their art. 

And there are tarot images that seem interesting in other ways, but not as reflections of irrational experience or deeply-held theories of the non-rational world. 

Last edited on Fri Feb 15th, 2008 08:17 am by debra

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 09:44 am
   
23rd Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote:
The second sense of "irrationality" in creativity is described by Mythos:  the feeling that the source of one's images is deeply mysterious and unknowable, that "something" is expressing itself but what IS it? 

...sometimes is totally surprised to find a new idea emerging from God-knows-where.  And furthermore, the particular turn of phrase, or the metaphor that emerges, may seem to come from "nowhere" and at least from nowhere as puny as my own puny mind.



This seems to be the very common and often reported experience that people have when they are working on some project that requires them to create something new. Somehow many human beings feel a need to view the source of some creative impulse as coming from outside of themselves, or their  normal way of thinking.  We can view this in all sorts of ways

If one wants to be physiological about this then one can see this as ones left brain patterns being overridden by some irruption of right brain activity. Thus the sense of an idea popping out of nowhere, that is, not out of the linearity of left brain thinking.

If one is more drawn to a psychological explanation, then the good old Freudian unconscious meets the bill, or one can even turn to Jung's collective unconscious as a way of explaining these experiences, if one can accept the Jungian thesis.

Those with religious predilictions will say God gave them these ideas.

Those who are more drawn to mysticism, will see their creative ideas emerging out of some special state of their inner being or some mystical plane of being.

Those who like to picture such mystical experiences as beings, will say they have received inspiration from angels or guiding spirits.

 

We can go on and on listing all sorts of ways that people articulate or explain this sense that a creative idea comes from some realm outside their normal way of thinking, but the important thing is to realise that these are all explaining the same thing, the same experience. The way one pictures this to oneself is a cultural matter.

One cannot denigrate another person's way of explaining this experience to themselves, just because one does not share their world view. Thus the fact that I do not believe in angels, does not give me the right to deny another person, who does believe in angels, from seeing angelic beings as the source of their inspiration. That is the way they see it. That is how they explain things to themselves. It works for them. It is irrelevant that I do not share their way of seeing the world.

Artists have to find some way of explaining their artistic creativity to themselves. This is usually culturally determined. What interests me is the art that emerges and not necessarily the ways in which the artist has had to explain to themselves the source of their inspiration.

 

Last edited on Fri Feb 15th, 2008 09:48 am by AdamMcLean

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 10:35 pm
   
24th Post
mythos
Member


Joined: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 315
Status: 
Offline
AdamMcLean wrote: debra wrote:
The second sense of "irrationality" in creativity is described by Mythos:  the feeling that the source of one's images is deeply mysterious and unknowable, that "something" is expressing itself but what IS it? 

...sometimes is totally surprised to find a new idea emerging from God-knows-where.  And furthermore, the particular turn of phrase, or the metaphor that emerges, may seem to come from "nowhere" and at least from nowhere as puny as my own puny mind.



This seems to be the very common and often reported experience that people have when they are working on some project that requires them to create something new. 


.... We can go on and on listing all sorts of ways that people articulate or explain this sense that a creative idea comes from some realm outside their normal way of thinking, but the important thing is to realise that these are all explaining the same thing, the same experience. The way one pictures this to oneself is a cultural matter.

One cannot denigrate another person's way of explaining this experience to themselves, just because one does not share their world view. 
...  What interests me is the art that emerges and not necessarily the ways in which the artist has had to explain to themselves the source of their inspiration.

 


Exactly.  I no longer ask myself where it comes from, apply theories, beliefs and so on to it.  It happens ... for me that is enough ... I no longer need explanations.  It Doesn't matter to me whether it is physiological, psychological, mystical, genetic, philosophical, or just plain old dumb luck.  It happens and to try and explain what, for me, is essentially unknoweable has been an enormous relief, given my tendency to over-analyse and over-think.

But, as Adam said, I would not deny others the right to explain their experiences in terms that I feel uncomfortable with, and, more to the point, it is the art that emerges which interests me most too. 

What I find of infinite interest and surprise is other's responses.  They do not influence me in the sense that I need other's approval for my work, it is more that I am often stunned by what people see and feel in, and experience as a result of, my work.  These are inevitably things that I did not see, did not feel, did not experience .... things that I come to see in my work thanks to being able to see through other's eyes.  Art is a surprise package. Creativity is a surprise package.  Tarot provides both a structure within which one can create art, and also provides infinite fluid possibilities of invention.

mythos:)

Back To Top

 Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 10:33 am
   
25th Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Yes,  mythos. :ok

I have never quite got over a very simple pip card I did, and seeing someone post that it retained the elements of the RWS tradition while being unillustrated....

I had no idea. I just liked the thing I had photographed for it !!!!!!!!!!

Last edited on Sat Feb 16th, 2008 10:34 am by gregory

Back To Top

 Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 11:15 pm
   
26th Post
ahclem
Banned


Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 101
Status: 
Offline
Thus I don't think we can criticize a tarot artist or creator for relying on their irrational beliefs as the basic inspiration for their deck. And when it comes to irrational beliefs, there is no meaningful way of making value judgments upon these. Accept one and you have to accept all.
I'm sorry, but that is just a preposterous statement.

To illustrate why I believe so, let's do a thought experiment:

Back in the early 90s (this for the benefit for any non-USA members who may not be familiar with this case), our media was going crazy sanctimoniously expressing their disgust while zealously reporting every gruesome detail of the exploits of one of our era's most revolting serial murderers, Jeffrey Dahmer. Over a period of a few years, Mr. Dahmer raped and murdered at least 17 men and boys, in some cases practicing necrophilia and cannibalism on their bodies. When finally arrested, the authorities found in his closet materials for the construction of an altar made of candles and the skulls of his victims.

Now, I would imagine that no one here would dispute that Mr. Dahmer held "irrational beliefs." So, the question is this: If it had turned out that he also had some artistic skill (or, at least, ambition) and had created a majors deck in which each card represented one of the men or boys he had raped, murdered, defiled, dismembered, or eaten, would you be in line to send Mr. Dahmer a check for a copy of his deck? If it were reasonably priced and a good value?

Because if you actually believe that...

...when it comes to irrational beliefs, there is no meaningful way of making value judgements upon these. Accept one and you have to accept all.
...then Mr. Dahmer's beliefs are no more deserving of value judgement than the beliefs of those who are inspired by angels or spirit guides.

Now admittedly, this is an extreme example. But if one acknowledges that some "irrational beliefs" are, in fact, rightfully subject to value judgement, then one must allow the much more interesting discussion of where in the spectrum of irrational beliefs the line might be drawn.

Discuss (or not).

Last edited on Sat Feb 16th, 2008 11:36 pm by ahclem

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 01:29 am
   
27th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
Well this is interesting. 

Is everyone still getting along ok?  Anyone want more tea?  Maybe a cookie?

Concretely, what do you all think about decks that sprinkle arcane symbolism about the cards--like alphabet soup, here a symbol, there a symbol. 

As a non-symbol reader myself, I always find that approach seems quaint, annoying, and .... irrational.  Generally it seems artistically undesirable.  A symbol in every corner! 

Is this simply my ignorance of design showing?  Or is it just because I don't "buy" the symbols and their importance that I see them as 'add-ons' rather than integral to the images?


Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 02:42 am
   
28th Post
ahclem
Banned


Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 101
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote:
Concretely, what do you all think about decks that sprinkle arcane symbolism about the cards--like alphabet soup, here a symbol, there a symbol.
In a way, I suppose generalizations are dangerous, in that it depends both on the esthetics of each specific deck and each individual's "connection" to the symbols. In my case, my interest in tarot is pretty much entirely in its function as a template for artistic expression, so I have no problem in principle with decks based on belief systems that I don't subscribe to. As long as a deck demonstrates a consistent artistic and/or conceptual vision (and, of course, appeals in some way to my personal artistic taste or sense of cultural curiosity), I'm open to at least consider it.

That being said, if every card in a deck has a Hebrew letter, a sign of the zodiac, a tree of the sephiroth with one of the paths highlighted, the name of an angel, and one of the seven dwarfs, it damn well better have something original to say about them.

So, what kind of cookies you got?

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 02:54 am
   
29th Post
OnePotato
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 325
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote: Concretely, what do you all think about decks that sprinkle arcane symbolism about the cards--like alphabet soup, here a symbol, there a symbol. 

As a non-symbol reader myself, I always find that approach seems quaint, annoying, and .... irrational.  Generally it seems artistically undesirable.  A symbol in every corner! 

What's a symbol?

Do you mean the little letters at the bottom that spell out a title?
Or the number sign at the top?
Or the picture of a man with a cape, holding a flashlight?
Or the odd foreign letters that are supposed to have some secret meaning?
Or the little dots in the sky?

Some of these rely on language skills.
Some rely on mathematics.
Some rely more directly on visual association.
Some rely on deep seated instinct.
Some rely on cultural conditioning.

So, which are "irrational", anyway?

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 03:31 am
   
30th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
OnePotato wrote:
What's a symbol?

Do you mean the little letters at the bottom that spell out a title?
Or the number sign at the top?
Or the picture of a man with a cape, holding a flashlight?
Or the odd foreign letters that are supposed to have some secret meaning?
Or the little dots in the sky?

Some of these rely on language skills.
Some rely on mathematics.
Some rely more directly on visual association.
Some rely on deep seated instinct.
Some rely on cultural conditioning.

So, which are "irrational", anyway?



LOL PotatoMan you have hit the nail on the head. 

The symbols I find annoying are the odd foreign letters tha are supposed to have some secret meaning.

The little dots in the sky come in second, but if they have charm I can live with or even learn to love them.

The odd foreign letters blah blah strike me as superimpositions. Ditto for some of the symbolism in the RWS deck--the symbol on Temperance Angel's headdress and the like.  Is this just my democratic tendencies speaking--"tarot for all, no secrets"?

ahclem, help yourself. Will you pass the plate around, too?

Attachment: 05-cookies2.jpg (Downloaded 70 times)

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 03:38 am
   
31st Post
ahclem
Banned


Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 101
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote:
ahclem, help yourself. Will you pass the plate around, too?
Yum! You bet. Thanks.

(Wait! Those little dots on the center cookies! What can they mean?)

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 09:03 am
   
32nd Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote:The symbols I find annoying are the odd foreign letters that are supposed to have some secret meaning.

The little dots in the sky come in second, but if they have charm I can live with or even learn to love them.

The odd foreign letters blah blah strike me as superimpositions. Ditto for some of the symbolism in the RWS deck--the symbol on Temperance Angel's headdress and the like.  Is this just my democratic tendencies speaking--"tarot for all, no secrets"?
Yes - me too. If people include symbols like that they presumably want you to get something out of them - so why not makeit all more obvious ???? (At least put the details in the LWB..............)

I want a chocky bicky.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 09:54 am
   
33rd Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1249
Status: 
Offline
ahclem wrote:
To illustrate why I believe so, let's do a thought experiment:



What an interesting rhetorical device !  I'm damned if I agree with you and damned if I don't. How very clever of you to think up such a wonderfully extreme example. I think I have been totally trumped. 

:f

 

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 10:25 am
   
34th Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Good grief. Would I or wouldn't I....................

:shock:

*hides under table to think*

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 08:49 pm
   
35th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
Adam, did you have a cookie?

ahclem, please pass the cookies to Adam.


There must be another way of discussing this topic. I'll join Gregory under the table for a while and let  you know if I gain any great insights. :P

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 09:12 pm
   
36th Post
ahclem
Banned


Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 101
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote:
ahclem, please pass the cookies to Adam.

Absolutely! Consider them passed.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 09:59 pm
   
37th Post
philebus
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 22nd, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 46
Status: 
Offline
No answers being suggested here, just a little debate....

With regards to the thought experiment, we should be careful not to conflate artistic value with moral value when makeing a judgement. Were we, through super-human or psychopathic means, able to divorce from our moral feelings, it is conceivable that we might see artistic value in such a pack of trumps. Of course, we would still not wish their creator to profit from them, so any perceived merit would not entail that we part with money to buy them.

To take an unrelated example, consider the difference between moral and scientific value. The Nazis carried out a great many experiments on the prisoners in concentration camps. Some of them, particularly with regard to the body's responses to extreme environments, are considered to have produced scientifically and medically valuable results. So much so that there have been serious debates regarding the possibility of allowing scientists to use them. However, whilst the scientific community recongnises the medical value of the Nazis' results, because of the way they were obtained, the general consensus is that they should never be used.

In such a case as in the thought experiment, our moral feelings would usually keep us from making an artistic valuation - but that need not entail that there is no artistic value there. We may disvalue the art for other, moral reasons.

An important objection to this would be that there is that artistic value and scientific value or not analogous. That is that artistic value is purely subjective, whilst scientific value has some objectivity. In this case, artistic value of a work is relative to the individual and any moral individual would be unable to see such a value - so, for right minded people, it would have none.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 10:56 pm
   
38th Post
mythos
Member


Joined: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 315
Status: 
Offline
I used the face of a murdered girl (American) in one of my paintings.  Why?  To express my grief at the loss of one so young and with so much life ahead of her ...? No!  ... though I felt loss and grief for her.  Did I use her face because the case was all over the internet and the story fascinating ... thus giving the murderer glorification?  Hardly.  In fact this is the first time that I have mentioned that I used her face and I will not name her.  I used it because her face 'irrationally' felt just right for the painting.

I am well aware that there is a market for 'art' produced by serial killers.  This offends me.... but if Dahmer, whose psychology is beyond our understanding, but who (horrific though it is to imagine) may have seen his actions as an act of love (however warped), was able to create a deck using those he murdered, imbuing it with his version of 'love' and his imagined creativity, and it didn't have an extreme 'ick-factor' flowing through (highly unlikely), would it make the deck any less a piece of creative tarot art?  No!  Would I send Mr Dahmer a cheque for it.  No!  Would I buy it because it was Dahmer's? No.  Would I buy it if the money went to a fund built to try and understand what it is that creates serial killers of his ilk.  Too bloody right.

Art is art, no matter who creates it.  That doesn't mean that we must support an artist whose values, or artisitic expressions of their values, we abhor.  I don't buy angel decks ... or fairy decks ... or horror decks .... they don't fit my value system ... but that doesn't mean that they don't have value.

I'll forgo the cookie ... not out of unfriendliness ... but it is pre-breakfast and I just don't think that I could go a cookie at the moment.  Maybe later in the day :hp!

mythos:)

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 03:02 am
   
39th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
This has developed in an interesting direction. Thanks for a totally different view, Mythos.

And now, a plea from me, a fan of this forum:

It's easy to say, "don't take it personally" when there's a serious disagreement. 

It does seem natural to take such disagreements to heart, and that is personal.

"How DARE that so-and-so!!!" "What a jerk!"  "I can't BELIEVE he said that!" "What a jerk!"

Blood pressures rise. Hormones surge. Dishes and dustbins start flying through the air. 

"I'm taking a little break"--that makes sense. 

I sure hope everyone will come back and try again, though, in their own good time.  There's so much to learn here and there's been a lot of good will all around.

That's why I suggested we all share a nice little snack. It's difficult to stay pissed off with a mouth full of cookie crumbs. 

  :ok

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 11:31 am
   
40th Post
gregory
Administrator


Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3280
Status: 
Offline
Thanks for that mythos. SO and I have been chatting about this, and we came to a similar conclusion - art is not the artist. Not to mention many criminals are so seriously discturbed that we have no idea what their motives were. Like mythos, SO pointed out - which had never occurred to me - that for all we KNOW, killing may have been Dahmer's way of expressing love, in which case his deck would for him have a most beautiful meaning. I realise this will NOT be a popular view, but he has a point. He would have been quite mad - but so were lots of artists. His madness would have just been peculiarly unpalatable to most of us.

And considering I have been sort of saying this for years in terms of whether one should or shouldn't read the poetry of the racist Larkin, or listen to the music of the really rather unpleasant Beethoven, I am surprised this didn't hit me sooner. I think it is because I remember the Dahmer case so vividly.

But I now say - I think IF I liked the deck, yes, I might actually buy it. (OK, come shoot me, everyone !)

But I would hope the money didn't go to Dahmer !

Last edited on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 11:32 am by gregory

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 12:05 pm
   
41st Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
So this inspired me to look for more info on Phillip Larkin, and in a recent review of several bios of him in the New York Review of Books, there's this comment by Clive James:


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18715
Philip Larkin really was the greatest poet of his time, and he really did say noxious things. But he didn't say them in his poems, which he thought of as a realm of responsibility in which he would have to answer for what he said, and answer forever. He also thought there was a temporary and less responsible realm called privacy. Alas, he was wrong about that. Always averse to the requirements of celebrity, he didn't find out enough about them, and never realized that beyond a certain point of fame you not only don't have a private life any more, you never had one.[10]


I am interested in this:  "He also thought there was a temporary and less responsible realm called privacy," which sort of applies here. Although in the case of the Deck which started the whole brouhaha here, the artist is selling some sort of snake oil, too--so perhaps that's not so private.


Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 03:27 pm
   
42nd Post
skad1
Member


Joined: Thu Sep 20th, 2007
Location: Dallas, Texas USA
Posts: 1255
Status: 
Offline
debra wrote: The odd foreign letters blah blah strike me as superimpositions. Ditto for some of the symbolism in the RWS deck--the symbol on Temperance Angel's headdress and the like.  Is this just my democratic tendencies speaking--"tarot for all, no secrets"?

ahclem, help yourself. Will you pass the plate around, too?



I just ignore anything that doesn't seem relevant.  Seems easiest!  Too many decks are made to one esoteric tradition or another that I am not a practitioner of, and have no desire to be.  But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the deck for whatever parts of it I like.  And what I like may not be what the designer intended.  But once the deck is out of their hands, and in mine, it's up to me to make of it what I will.

Thanks for the cookies, I couldn't decide which, so I had acouple!

Attachment: cookies.jpg (Downloaded 72 times)

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 05:08 pm
   
43rd Post
Papageno357
Banned
 

Joined: Sat Sep 8th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 203
Status: 
Offline
gregory wrote: T for all we KNOW, killing may have been Dahmer's way of expressing love, in which case his deck would for him have a most beautiful meaning. I realise this will NOT be a popular view,

But I now say - I think IF I liked the deck, yes, I might actually buy it. (OK, come shoot me, everyone !)

But I would hope the money didn't go to Dahmer !

Consider that adolph hitler expressed his "love" for the people of Germany by committing acts of genocide against the Jews and other social and ethnic minorities.

no doubt, hitler and dahmer will have much to discuss as they trade notes in the bad place below.......sorry you missed your chance, bad timing and all that......maybe next time,  you'll be in the right place at the right time and get a Tarot deck from the next aspiring serial killer du jour

go ahead, blow a fuse..........


Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2008 05:25 pm
   
44th Post
skad1
Member


Joined: Thu Sep 20th, 2007
Location: Dallas, Texas USA
Posts: 1255
Status: 
Offline
Bottom line...

if you don't like it, don't buy it.  If you object to it, don't buy it. 


If you DO like it, buy it, that's your business. You shouldn't have to justify yourself for your purchases any more than the creator for their creation.


But it's also our right to ignore it!

Back To Top


 Current time is 10:46 pm

Top



UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2011 Data 1 Systems