Monday, November 13, 2006

What Does Tennis Have to do with Art?

I love to make art but it is hard for me to talk about what my art means while I'm creating it.

While I'm drawing or painting people will ask me what it means, or what I'm trying to say?

I usually say something like, "I don't know. I just wanted to paint it," or some other not so elegant response.

To which they usually interject their thought, "Well, I think it's about... (inserting their comment here)."

Which is fine. It doesn't bother me, but it certainly doesn't make it clearer for me.

Now, someone might ask how I can make art without knowing what it means? And my best response is a story I overheard somewhere concerning tennis great John McEnroe. (This is from memory. And no, I don't know anything about tennis. It involves a ball right? j/k)

After a game in which John McEnroe won, a reporter asked the opponent why he lost, and he said something like, "Well, I need to be quicker with my footwork and my serve is a little slow."

Afterward, the reporter asked John McEnroe how come he won, and John McEnroe said, "I don't know. I just play tennis."

I'm sure people thought it was a stupid thing to say, but I think it was a great answer. In fact I think it was probably the best answer he could have given.

The Heisenberg principle, to paraphrase, says when you observe something you change it just by observing it, therefore you can't ever truly know its nature.

Examining my art while I'm making it would change it, and it would no longer be my art in some way.

So, if you ask what my art means I'll try to answer the best I can, but don't be too disappointed if all you get is, "Uh, I wanted to paint something."

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