Thursday, April 2, 2009

A note about Seth's philosophy

I received an e-mail from Seth's dad the other day, and what he said was so insightful about Seth's way of thinking about art that I thought I would copy it here in its entirety.Here it is:

I recall Seth saying that he felt formal art education was flawed in that it tended to encourage people to work on what they already did well. The objective for the student became producing something that looked good and was respected by the other students and professors. Thus, they honed their best talents and shied away from their mediocre ones.
The situation did not encourage people to struggle with what they did not do well. Seth especially wanted to work on those areas where he felt he was weakest, and thus overcome them. On a somewhat higher level, he wanted to confront his demons and overcome them. For him, that's where personal growth occurred.
He was also miffed by the art school discussion of "Art" and what it meant... where a tree should be placed in a painting, etc... a kind of mental maze with no exit. His goal, as he expressed it to me, was to be able to take the vision in his head and put it down in a drawing as precisely and accurately as he could. He was very interested in acquiring that skill and his personal art education was directed thusly. he felt that the artist needed to perfect his technical skills in order to do this... and that was not really emphasized at art schools.
Along the same line, he did not like to have the works of other artists around much or look much at what other artists were doing. He did not keep a large library of other artists' work. He did take inspiration from some selected artists that he greatly respected. However, he made a point not to spend too much time seeing what other people were doing so as not to find himself emulating them consciously or unconsciously. He wanted to be sure that what he was putting down on paper was a Seth original and not an inadvertent remake of someone else's vision.
I don't know if you have the same impression of Seth's views on this subject, but this is what I recall.

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