The Art and the Artist

4 min read

How much does the art tell about the artist? Can we love the art yet hate the artist? Or do we blindly hate art if we hate the artist?

One of my recent cinematic indulge was a movie called Tár. The movie concentrated on Lydia Tár, a renowned musician who happened to be unpleasant as a person, yet highly talented and gifted in classical music. Throughout the movie, one can assess if it is possible to see the woman for her excellent skills rather than her shrews and uncanny behaviors. I would not go on further to discuss the movie in further detail for this is not a review nor a critique of the movie. But I would insist to discuss if one can love the art apart from the artist [the creator].

The relationship between art and the artist is an undefined territory, I must say. For many artists out there, their art has an intense entanglement within their being. If many artists were asked to define what their art upholds to them, without a doubt, they remain speechless. Because, well, their art is a mere part of themselves taking a form of a certain reality. Tangible and authentic. For some, if not most, art is a way of articulating their pain. Or intense ecstasies such as love or the infinitude of one’s happiness. Either way, this undeniable connection makes the question remain in shades.

Does the art fully reside in the artist, though? Yes, undoubtedly it can become the center of every act of the artist. But are we meant to find the shreds of his soul or his entire being poured out?

If we were to find the entire being of the artist in the pieces he writes/paints/records, it would make it more than difficult to see them as two distinct entities. That would mean we can fully understand and explore the being of the artist via his art. It would simply mean the art is the artist. And the artist is the art. But I have to admit that is a bit far-fetched for we humans are much more complicated to be found piled on a piece. Wouldn’t that be something if it was possible, though?

As this gnawing thought spread in my head, I asked my poet friend if he can separate the art from the artist. “I wish to believe that I can distinctly see these two”, he answered. “But”, he went on, “I have seen myself being biased after getting to know the artist. And in many instances, I would prefer if I do not know much about them. It helps me to enjoy the work genuinely.”

As I mentioned, I believe this is an undefined territory. Yet, despite who or what kind of person the artist is, there are undeniable masterpieces I cannot seem to hate. After all, aren’t we humans? Imperfect and full of blemishes? Just because we can produce something authentic doesn’t necessarily make us transcendental beings. Our art, the piece of our soul, can become transcendental, but not us. I think that is why we always admire art, no matter who we are. For something precious is born from those who are imperfect to live life as supposed.

That is the very reason why it is easy to appreciate art for what it is. This is why a true artist never cares for accolades and recognition. The actual embodiment of the work is rewarding enough. It is true that art fully resides in the artist. But the artist exists in parts to leave his heartbeat elsewhere.

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