What is it?
Never mind that, how does it work?
I find sometimes, when I make things, that they illustrate some part of me I thought nonexistent, buried, irrelevant, stupid, or wrong.
It tends to drag up pieces of myself out of me and make them stare me in the face.
Not always pleasant. Don’t go asking what precise project did what precise thing, but in general, here is the result. Parts of my personality, my subconscious desires and ideas that I repressed or ignored in childhood, in adulthood, whose traces are left in my imagination, jump to life the minute the creative juices begin to flow. Why they were ignored is a story for another year.
One of the comments frequently made about art/creativity, aside from the difficulty of defining it, is that it’s illogical, hard to understand, hard to manufacture. It can be fostered, grown, nurtured, but there is no formula.
Its illogicality (is that a word?) is its strength. We use logic to defend ourselves, shore up our personal and societal denials, then inflict them on others. Let that defense down, that wall of rationality and order, and the truth may just stand up and slap you. The question isn’t so much, “should that happen?” as “what do I do with it?”
When there is a theme, visual, philosophical, or otherwise, that I simply cannot get rid of in my work, I need to pay attention to it, try to understand it. And I should use logic to do that, to understand it, connect it to the rest of the things I know.
Here's a related quote:
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
What? I take that to mean that art can bring up the things that are ignored or stuffed down in a particular time or society, the gaps, denials and lies, and make us face them. Those who are disturbed may be disturbed because they see the gaps, and their consequences, and those who are comfortable have forgotten that the lies exists.
So I guess it helps me see my gaps.