Nowadays the term kind of describes a person who inspires an artist. Kind of.
We artists find inspiration in the most unlikely of places (or situations.) It’s not just other works of art that inspire us to create art, but also places, events, people.
But I’ve always considered a muse to be more than all that.
Most artists would agree with the following statement: they create art because they want to make something so beautiful that it has a chance of lasting forever.
But what happens when you just want to capture something that’s already beautiful? And you want to make it last forever.
That’s what I think a muse is.
Beauty inspires, there’s no doubt about it. And beauty inspires because it always dies. Sooner or later, but it always does so. Gorgeous people grow old, flowers wither away…
I’ve had a couple of muses along the years. I’ve been inspired by beautiful women, some of whom I’ve never even talked to.
I believe this to be a pretty vague concept. A construct of the mind, a muse is often unreachable for the artist. Maybe it’s just me and my unrequited love stories, but the truth is that we write about other human beings. Art is not just about introspection, or about what we see, but also about what we want to see.
We hope. That’s one of our redeeming qualities: we hope. And thus we write, and we paint, and we sculpt, and we sing. About other people. About those who love us or those who don’t, about those who we see worthy of becoming more than just flesh and blood.
Ink and paper maybe…
They say you’ll never die if a writer falls in love with you.
Art is just… by the people, for the people, and about people.
That’s all, folks!
You know that legend Chuck Palahniuk writes about in the first chapter of Choke? If you don’t know it, let me tell you about it. In Ancient Greece there was this girl who was in love with a boy. But he had to leave, so on their last night together the girl brought a lamp and set it so it threw the lover’s shadow on the wall. She traced the outline of her lover’s shadow so she would never forget how he looked like. The next day, the boy was gone, but that outline was still there.
Apparently that’s how painting was invented.
Because we hope things are going to last for much, much longer than it is possible. Because we want to leave something behind.
It’s what we do. Making art is just some people’s way of shouting inside a crowded room. And sometimes the echoes never stops reverberating…