We had a discussion with a group of arts students doing the BA in Professional Practice the other day about this as we tried to identify our understanding of the role. Some of the words that were suggested were “Creativity”, “Imagination”, “Experimentation”, “Performance”, and “Exhibition”. The first three words encapsulate some process involving the brain and the cognitive process while the last two suggest a form of dissemination activity. If this was in the context of a business organisation we might be looking at implementation and the first three as Research and Development in Production of goods or services.
Those words suggested by the group Creativity, Imagination and Experimentation rely on some pre-existing knowledge however this was gained. And in engaging in these actions – creating, imagining and experimenting more knowledge is being gained. However, some of this knowledge may be cast aside as not relevant for the oeuvre being developed. It may however be retrieved at a later date for development of another work.
These three activities do not come from nothing. They are born from an idea, a message, a political theory or possibly an emotion. While nothing comes nothing originated in the Greek philosophical tradition it is wise to reflect on the source of artistic endeavour. Does the medium which is used to convey the product of artistic endeavour influence the artist and its development. Then there is the question of the audience. They may also have to engage with their creative part of their brain in order to connect with the piece. Take the Lion King which is performed in the West End. In order to convey the stampede of the animals across the savannahs of the African landscape the creative production team used people and costumes to achieve this. They drew their inspiration from Africa in the design of the costumes. Through experimentation they would have worked out the movements of the actors in order to create the illusion of the movement of vast amounts of zebra, giraffes, wildebeest. However, most importantly, they needed something more. They needed the imagination of the audience.
How does the audience impact on the work of the professional artist?