I believe that God speaks to us constantly. And He speaks, not just with the Words of the holy books, but also through the things that surround us; things which we see, smell, hear and touch.
So why don't we hear Him most of the time?
The problem is... I don't know... perhaps the problem is we often pay attention to the wrong things. Perhaps our hearts are too clouded with greed, fear, hatred and anger to see anything beyond the thick walls of our small minds.
I also believe that God speaks to our hearts. And I believe that the great artists in the history of mankind were able to produce such inspired works of art because they saw the Words, heard the Sounds and felt the Love. And that unlike most of us, they looked and listened with clear, sincere hearts.
Then again, maybe all this is just me and my stupid, shallow daydreams again.
And yet... sometimes... like how it was on the set of 'Sepet', when I looked closely at the small playback tv monitor and watched Jason place his head on his mother's lap and cry, there was a strong feeling that something much bigger than us had taken over the whole process. And if Hitchcock was right in saying that "art is emotion", then I would like to believe that in that rare and special moment, we stumbled upon something artistic, in spite of our lack of artistic talent.
Okay, enough about me. Here then are some quotes from several all-time great artists, concerning art itself. I chose them, not only because of who said them, but also because they sound so perilously close to Truth to me. See what you think.
Or should I say, pay close, quiet attention to how you FEEL.
"Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed." - Yu Cao
"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs." - Ansel Adams
"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better." - Andre Gide
"Art is God's work." - P.Ramlee
"It's only words... unless they're true." - David Mamet
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas
"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - Frank Zappa
"All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography." - Federico Fellini
"To be an artist is to believe in life." - Henry Moore
"Precision is not reality." - Henri Matisse
"In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves; novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only; making a subject better from its intrinsic nature." - Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
"Every good painter paints what he is." - Jackson Pollock
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." - Paul Cezanne
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso
"I do not seek. I find." - Pablo Picasso
"Great art can communicate before it is understood." - T. S. Eliot
"When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artists to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn." - Walt Disney
"Art is emotion." - Alfred Hitchcock
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo
"To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good, but that most people can't eat it." - Leo Tolstoy
"Art is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feeling." - Leo Tolstoy
"The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel." - Piet Mondrian
"I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say, he feels deeply, he feels tenderly." - Vincent van Gogh
"Art is the accomplice of love. Take love away and there is no longer art." - Rémy de Gourmont
And finally, here's something about an ancient Japanese philosophy which means a lot to me, because it changed the way I look at beauty and art:
"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional... It is also two separate words, with related but different meanings. 'Wabi' is the kind of perfect beauty that is seemingly-paradoxically caused by just the right kind of imperfection, such as an asymmetry in a ceramic bowl which reflects the handmade craftsmanship, as opposed to another bowl which is perfect, but soul-less and machine-made. 'Sabi' is the kind of beauty that can come only with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue. Wabi and Sabi are independent word stems in normal speech. They are brought together only to make a point about aesthetics. Sabi is most often applied to physical artistic objects, not writing. A well-known examplar of what one would call a 'wabishii' object: black spit polish boots with dust on them from the parade ground. Many Japanese pots, the expensive ones, are dark and mottled -- wabi. 'Sabishii' is the normal word for 'sad', as in, that was a sad movie. A related term in literature and the arts is 'clinamen', the act of deliberately breaking a stylistic rule to enhance the beauty of an otherwise perfect whole." - excerpt from Leonard Koren's book on the subject.
There. I hope now we can conduct our regular discourses on film and the art of film-making with a new common understanding. And may our future films be even more beautiful than the ones we made before.
Ameen, ameen, ya rabbal aalameen.