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Reply To: The Creative Spark


Hello Elena,

I only just today discovered your comment in the thread on “The Creative Spark” here in Conversations of a Higher Order. Your words certainly ring true – and seem congruent with Joseph Campbell’s own observations.

You write

In my experience, an artist has the ability to create because he/she is in tune with something greater than himself/herself.”

As to what that something might be, it’s not easy to put into words – but the artistic image goes beyond words (I include literary imagery as well, which is more than just a dictionary definition) and resonates on so many levels.

“Artists . . . provide the contemporary metaphors that allow us to realize the transcendent, infinite, and abundant nature of being as it is.” (Campbell, Thou Art That, 6)

Art, for me at any rate, is akin to a religious experience – with the emphasis on experience:

The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms with the expectation (or, at times, even requirement) that one should interpret and experience them in a certain authorized way, whereas the artist first has an experience of his own, which he then seeks to interpret and communicate through effective forms. Not the forms first and then the experience, but the experience first and then the forms.” (Campbell, The Mythic Dimension, 226)

Which brings me to my favorite line from your brief comment:

“I realized that when we are deeply personal about ourselves, we find also a universal aspect of our lives.”

There’s that personal experience!

I am curious, Elena – what is your preferred medium? And also, does art provide your living, or at least supplement your income (I would include teaching art in that category), or is it something you have to do apart from the daily grind?