Art is in the flower

Art is in the flower; in the life energies flowing in the artist’s body that recognizes the flower as special.

An artist is a true artist when he doesn’t use “his” hand to create “his” painting of a flower. It is the flower, which wants to b drawn and painted and filters beautifully through that particular artist’s set of eyes; the flower seeds the birth of the painting. Those eyes must have been lying in wait for that moment of combined divinity and beauty to happen; it is the flower that has to be drawn – must be drawn- and come alive in another dimension and attain immortality until the fabric of existence (canvas) itself dissolves into nether. A flower, and every tree, bush, shrub, or plant has lived the current dimension in enough silent rapt attention to have heard all the beats and melodies and rhythm of the universe and can manage the onslaught of unsettling and the silent change of a far limited dimension that is strictly 2D.

It is not the form alone, for the form is only a fragmented mask of its brothers’ traits that it could wear off the shelf, purchased with genetic currency, and then share it with its environment. Nothing unique. Not as much. It is the esprit in the flower, the spirit bursting out, that which lives inside the flower, which spoke to – not the artists eyes or hands – but the heart and mind that will control the hand.

The flower can survive casual death. It can withstand the realization of the enormity of the empty and the non-rewarding infinity of immortality and not complain. Immortal resurrection in another dimension. It can give away some part of its essence to the artist in the moment. Just like that. Knowing for sure that some of it will never come back.

The flower in a sense is merely a naïve messenger of the beauty gods giving up its vital essences so that beauty may live. The flower then is noble. It is not manipulating. It does not know what it was used for and what message it has carried from the beauty gods. It only plays messenger and carries the burden and responsibility of being the flower in the first place. And then it delivers the message right at the eye of the artist and imprints him with a unique tattoo that is unique for every artist. Because all artists have different eyes and even more different skins. Because the skin underlying its stamp makes a difference.

Embellishments are heavy burdens for purity, his embellishment is purest and of most significance when it is not conscious. The artist must cleanse himself of his physical and corporeal barriers and paint merely by instinct. He must recreate the flower as it appeared in the vision, rather than how he would like to remember it, or how it would have been better if it had a bow around it. If he were to embellish the image, he has blocked it midway, and cornered some of its vitality.

The total corruption of art happens with such painters because they then impose their insecurity on “what was meaning to be expressed by making an arbitrary investment of trust in the integrity of an arbitrary artist’s ability, rather than waiting for the right painter to come along”.

In fact, to say the flower has a need to be drawn makes the flower manipulative; gives it an ego. The flower does not prefer an artist. It doesn’t mind the black and white camera or the color film. That is true egoless-ness. This one step of offering an opportunity to be worthy of drawing to tired and waiting eyes – without even the knowledge that it is playing this role – and to receive no sense of importance from the external environment that is the true dharma of the flower, it has been a fully formed flower all the way and been the best flower it can be. It cannot look at another flower and hold its petals just so. All it can do is flower. The flower therefore does not command the artist. it is in fact the attribute that the flower has no control over at all – its inherent beauty and its innate nature – that compels the artist.

The pursuit of the artist is therefore not to capture a flower, but the flower he felt in awe of. If he adds anything to the vision, then it would be embellishments only serving one purpose: of claiming his skill can somehow improve beauty.

It is the lenses of the artist that make a one among hundreds flower that “special” beautiful. And a yardstick of the artist’s integrity is when he represents what he perceives in the best way he can. Not to master the technique of drawing itself to be able to draw anything that comes his way. An artist doesn’t paint the view. A drawing and painting major does.

The artist paints “the love” for what he perceives. The stalk lifts the artist’s fingers, the petals imbue it with color; the central core of the flower, however, is the seat of inspiration: it is blank, and dark, and often a bottomless pit. It is when you stare down the core, though, which offers noting but a dark and safe space for yourself, that you discover your true self, your true eyes, and the true essence of the flower.

_______________________________________________________

I may have written this, but I cannot take credit for it. It happened in my ear.

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4 thoughts on “Art is in the flower

  1. Sunflower Sutra

    I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and
    sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
    Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
    box house hills and cry.
    Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
    pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
    of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed,
    surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
    machinery.
    The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
    sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
    stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves
    rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
    on the riverbank, tired and wily.
    Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
    shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
    dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust–
    –I rushed up enchanted–it was my first sunflower,
    memories of Blake–my visions–Harlem
    and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes
    Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black
    treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the
    poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel
    knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck
    and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the
    past–
    and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
    crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
    and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye–
    corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
    a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
    soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays
    obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
    wire spiderweb,
    leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
    from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
    fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
    Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O
    my soul, I loved you then!
    The grime was no man’s grime but death and human
    locomotives,
    all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad
    skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black
    mis’ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance
    of artificial worse-than-dirt–industrial–
    modern–all that civilization spotting your
    crazy golden crown–
    and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless
    eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the
    home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar
    bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards
    of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely
    tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what
    more could I name, the smoked ashes of some
    cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the
    milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs
    & sphincters of dynamos–all these
    entangled in your mummied roots–and you there
    standing before me in the sunset, all your glory
    in your form!
    A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
    lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye
    to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited
    grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden
    monthly breeze!
    How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
    grime, while you cursed the heavens of the
    railroad and your flower soul?
    Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
    flower? when did you look at your skin and
    decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive?
    the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
    shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?
    You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a
    sunflower!
    And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me
    not!
    So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
    it at my side like a scepter,
    and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul
    too, and anyone who’ll listen,
    –We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread
    bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all
    beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we’re blessed
    by our own seed & golden hairy naked
    accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black
    formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
    eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
    riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening
    sitdown vision.

    Allen Ginsberg

    Berkeley, 1955

  2. this may be a comment on on “Art is in the flower” but it’s actually a comment on what i think is everyday existence of late, or the prevalent times. seems to me that one can wash the soot off given enough time, but to regain the sunflower vivre takes more and longer than just displacement or a scrub.

    it’s been so long with the soot the yellow doesn’t know what to do with itself.

    • I got lost in the post but

      “it’s been so long with the soot the yellow doesn’t know what to do with itself.”

      hits the point. One year for me and I have just glimpsed a corner of what I really want to see.

  3. So long with the soot?! Try sleeping under the open sky, and watch a sunrise…the morning dew is all it takes to wash it away…;)

    And in case you didnt get to the end of the poem,

    “We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread
    bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all
    beautiful golden sunflowers inside”

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