The Artistic Labor

An Insight Into the Powerfully Inspiring Process of Artistic Labor

How does the artist get from the mere idea to the final product of his imagination? Know more about this process from the article below.
ArtHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Any work of art begins by leaving on its way the multitude of possible variants it was actually inspired by or created from. Some of its basic ingredients are renunciation and sacrifice. But what art has sacrificed is not entirely lost. Thus, Goethe once confessed that some of his writing projects such as Prometheus, Tantalus, Ixion and Sisyphus have later on become part of his deeper and higher quality play entitled "Ifigenia". A part of the success of his play was in fact due to these imperfect, unaccomplished writings of his. Artistic labor can also be strongly related to inspiration. During his labor, the artist usually makes several changes, more or less failed attempts to reach the desired version of his work of art; he can change his mind about things.
Henri Delacroix compares artistic creation and labor with that of the embryo's process of formation inside the mother's womb. Thus, the development of the art work depends on the embryo's initial strength. The independent elements subordinate to the idea. The whole determines the details, and the details also can influence the entire structure of a work of art. Those who want to follow a too rigid plan may lose in fact many good things. And those artists who integrate into their works most anything that may come along during the process of creation, although they may change the initial theme, they are very likely to benefit from the occurring incidents.
The verbal formula is most often preceded and generated by a powerful spiritual tension. If this tension is maintained, it can ensure the unity of the artwork. As Ribot used to say, the development can go from details to the unity of the work or vice versa; in both cases, the mutual connection of details and the hierarchy of the elements are established. Any kind of inspiration may include in itself its own form of expression. On the other hand, in order to reveal itself entirely, it does require this expression. In a certain sense, the progressive transformation of a work of art and the freedom of the artist confront each other and are harmonized one with the other in this manner.
H. Delacroix says that the work of art is organized by the conquest of a material which is at the same time rebellious and obedient. The abstract or concrete techniques often impose themselves upon the artist's labor. Being at the same time cold towards the artist's desire and submitted to it, the sound, verbal or visual material which the artist manipulates wears off the artist and helps him rebel against it.
Maurice Grammont judiciously noticed the fact that those works of art which usually seem the most natural and easily written are most often the result of many attempts, corrections, and so on. It's true that some people can be considered more talented than others. There are indeed artists that are so gifted that it may come easier for them to create something of good quality. However, those who got closer to perfection were and are those who knew best how to correct themselves every time they realized their mistakes. One of the key elements that can make artistic labor easier is the realization and correction of one's mistakes. The artist needs to be able to do that in order to improve his work.
Of course, poets may not calculate their effects, but good poets have intuition, they have the ability to sense the potential effects of their poetry and they are only content when they discover the perfect way of expressing their ideas. The effects can come naturally, but they must be accepted by the poet. And when an artist decides to note a provisory variant of expression, he does that in the hope that one day he will find something better.
At any rate, as Delacroix points it out, the artistic idea can only be born within a sensitive environment. The musical idea is created by the harmonious or polyphonic processing, based on the way of organizing the musical arrangements or on the orchestration. The poetic idea implies the proper and inspired use of words. These are but a few aspects referring to the actual things that artistic labor implies.
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