The angel in the marble

angel“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

Don’t you love it when your mind imprisons a certain image? You have a certain vision, you know exactly where you want to go and what you have to do. An image that has to be set free.

This is one of the most crucial aspects of good art: vision. And heart. I’m not sure you can have one without the other.

Because, you see, good art is not about how much you want to become a great artist, about how bad you want to create something beautiful, but about how bad you want to translate the image that’s inside your head.

Good art is not about technique, rules, special skills, or some out-of-this-world abilities. Good art is all about faith and hope and vision. It’s about heart, about courage, about determination and perseverance.

Everything else it’s just there to make mediocre artists feel better about themselves. You know, the ones who just want to say something, the ones who want to be artists for all the wrong reasons.

Good art, whether it’s a song or a painting or a story, has to mean something to the artist. Because only so can it mean something to others too.

If you can imagine a better world, write about it. If you can’t, write about your world. Write about your reality, and write about the way you see it, and use the first words that come to your mind. Or paint it in the easiest way possible.

Art doesn’t have to be beautiful, doesn’t have to be unique, doesn’t have to be moral or immoral. Art doesn’t have to be perfect. Art just has to mean something.


33 comments on “The angel in the marble

  1. truemushroom says:

    this is brilliant!! great post :)

  2. To a whovian like myself I nearly died when I saw the angel lol xD

  3. lorenddavis says:

    I agree. Letting one’s thoughts flow naturally onto paper, although abstract and rustic at times, creates something so much more beautiful than something that is created following a rigid set of guidelines.

  4. What a beautiful quote…I had never heard…but, will now, remember…

  5. motherabroad says:

    I absolutely agree that art with no meaning is useless and cannot be called art. I find it really annoying when artists say things like, “It just came to me. Make of it what you like.” or when people say, “Art is in the eye of the beholder”. Art is not there for us to interpret in any which way we like; if the artist is not trying to express something, tell you something, etc., then they have simply made something which adds no value to your life or to society, no more value than a toilet or another plain white rice bowl like the kind you see at restaurants . There can be no art without meaning.

    • I agree, but a part of the “message” always gets lost in the translation. And it’s okay. No two people see the same thing in the same way. Art, after all, is subjective. So, it’s not only about what the artist is trying to express, but also about what the audience makes of that work of art.

  6. This is such a beautiful and introspective way of looking at it! I love reading your posts.

  7. seaangel4444 says:

    Wonderful post, Cristian. I feel the same way! Cher xo

  8. Stephen King said that writing is no so much creation as it is discovery. The story is there, and as you said, the artist must have vision to see it (like Michelangelo saw the angel) and things like plot, characters, word choices, etc, are all tools to chip away the rubbish and find the story. I totally see that.

  9. Great post, I love your thinking though this.
    I quite agree that excellent technique can be as boring as bat-shit, but I think beauty is valuable in and of itself, as is rest and liveliness and so many other things that an artwork can give. Of course, what’s beautiful for one might not be so for another. It can, however, be the heart or vision of a work, what it is “about”.
    I’m talking mainly about visual art. I like to live with a work and let my eyes travel around it. There has to be something… mystery, an imbalance, a vigorous line, something that holds you there. Most of the time, for me, ideas don’t cut it. At least not for long.
    Much of my best writing comes from taking a mediocre idea and letting it spill, then cut, cut, cut, rearrange, and cut some more. Often something comes out that has been brewing but is not yet consciously a subject or “vision”. A process of discovery. I don’t like to see this process in things that I read, (writing needs to be polished till it shines, even if it is about or illustrating this very process) but I LOVE being able to see the process of an artist’s discovery in visual art.

  10. Loving the inspiring posts Cristian. I really hope that you are hearing your own words as you write them and inspire us.

  11. Little synchronicity here … I’m returning to creative pursuits.

  12. “Art doesn’t have to be unique…”

    When I think about that, I am reminded of defamiliarization, and that we all have been presenting a lot of the same stuff but only in different ways.

    • Well, there are what? 4-5 main themes in art? We’ve been saying the same things, over and over again, for quite some time. But it’s also about the way we say those things. And to whom. And why. And where. And when.

  13. vesna says:

    “Good art, whether it’s a song or a painting or a story, has to mean something to the artist. Because only so can it mean something to others too”. This is crrutial, I agree. Did I already tell you that not only your writing, but also you thinking (as if tehere has to be a connection :-)) is interesting

  14. And good art should inspire – Love Michelangelo’s art. I got to see so many pieces in Europe

  15. Amazingly put. True words for any artist to live by. And in addition to all that, the artist should not care whether the audience will understand the meaning in the art, as long as the artist has created it with his/her honest vision. Many artists forget that.

    • I often say that when someone buys one of my stories, it becomes theirs. They can understand what they want from it. I can no longer control what they understand, what they see, or what kind of meaning or pleasure they derive from it.

      Everything I wanted to transmit can be found within the pages of that particular story.

  16. moldydaisy says:

    I found this almost … liberating. At least I think that’s the word. There is so much welled up in my brain that I need to let it out or I get sick. And if anyone’s actually reading this, I imagine you have an idea what it’s like to have spillage leaking from every entrance and exit to your head! Anyway, my point is that this is a lovely reminder that simply letting that out is good enough … it doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful in the eyes of others. It’s the heart of the art which really makes the difference

    • Once you realize that it doesn’t really matter what others think about your art, that’s when you’re free to create whatever you want. They can’t give you anything, actually. They don’t own you, and they’re not responsible for your works of art. You are. And you alone can create what you want, when you want, using whatever tools you desire.

      To some extent, true freedom can only be acquired through art. As long as you believe in what you are doing, you can write, sing, or paint whatever you like. You can express your vision in any way you like.

  17. I believe art has to mean something but sometimes it is in the eye of the beholder not the creator. I use to write poetry and hated it. I would throw something together real quick and think it was horrible. At the same time everyone else loved it. They saw life in my meaningless words. Art of any kind has life but only to those who are looking for beauty.

    • It’s kind of ironic when that happens, but I guess you can’t please everyone. Sometimes, even though you’re not pleased with the “end product” someone else will think it’s brilliant.

  18. Gina says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  19. designsonyourfuture says:

    A wonderfully written article. I quite agree: I love finding ideas imprisoned within me and working to set them free.

  20. binvested says:

    What a great post. You are inspiring!!!

  21. Well said, this blog was a piece of art itself. The passion behind your words clearly indicate this means something to you and it then meant something to me. And I absolutely love the quote you began with.

  22. Self expression is a wonderful gift, wonderful post!

  23. Art just has to mean something. Love that.

    It’s even better when your art grows in meaning, as more people consume it. When you’re touched by a piece of art it’s a beautiful thing, but when you are allowed to contribute to its meaning it’s even better!

    I find that to be the most amazing thing about blogging or interactive art for that matter. The comments and discussions and reblogs facilitate more and more meaning.

  24. Great job, Cristian Mihai, sure glad I’m following you, simplicity is best, funny how your statement in its brevity matches the content of your theme, you leave us a wide open world for wonder and kindness to our selves in being creative. This room gives us, many moments and ways to ponder. Keep up the Great work have a Great week…g

  25. Celesta says:

    Interesting Read

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