“One of the virtues of the very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Sam Levenson (from The Painter’s Keys)
Is true imagination alive and well today? Imagination can appear to be an exercise in futility when art is created by rote. Over and over an artist strives to reproduce a preconceived idea yet it isn’t appearing on the paper or canvas. Something else entirely keeps happening so the artist scrapes it and tries again, over and over. It becomes a mechanical process until eventually the artist moves on to the next project. What would be the outcome if the artist, instead stopped trying and just let whatever is pushing to happen, happen?
“When you’re a kid, your imagination has no limits. You believe in magic powers and incredible characters that don’t exist in the adult world,” writes Landon Lee on his blog. As adults, the imagination has been beaten down and suffocated by the practicalities of life. Or it has been told to conform to the “real” world. For artists, it may mean stifling the imagination to go for the prevailing concept of what acceptable art may be. Stamping down the childish imagination to gain acceptance replaces the freedom to create what the imagination sees.
Stuckismwales states, “Concetual art is shackled to the earth and can’t ‘fly’ because it has no ‘wings’ of imagination.” To fly is the greatest adventure. Unshackling the imagination leads to flying. Who doesn’t want to fly? Okay, so some may fear flying. How about releasing the sails to fly across the water? Or slide down mountains? Or dance on a sandy beach in the moonlight? Giving the imagination the freedom to do whatever it wants is the beginning of magic. Magic makes the impossible happen, the un-thought-of appear.
Art that knows no bounds, recognizes no confines is free to fly, or dance, or sail. Art with the “wings” of imagination can go anywhere, be anything. To get there, the mechanical must be scraped, the control relinquished. Forget the preconceived notions. Let the child out to play. Start dancing. Unfurl the sails. Reach for the sky. Bring on the magic!