Re: Are you an artist...? OR just someone who does henna... my history on this.LONG


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Posted by Maureen on July 11, 2002 at 04:48:26:

In reply to: Are you an artist...? OR just someone who does henna... my history on this.LONG posted by Veronica on July 6, 2002 at 18:47:22:

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm....Wasn't going to touch this one. I was enjoying
reading what everyone else was posting though. So decided to share
my thoughts as well.

I am an artist. I also define myself as I am a painter, a sculptor
and a ceramist. Often I do a piece of work as a therapist that I
know reaches the status of "work of art." Sometimes I work a piece
of magic with my henna from the mixing through the design that rises
to what I consider art. My personal belief is that the "art" takes
place in the process and that what results from the process where the
artistry takes place is a by product that is called art in some
cultures.

When I think of a Van Gogh or Edvard Munch, it is the understanding
of their process when creating the piece that allows me to understand
their art and their artistry...their process of creating. We all
have available to us the same color and design concepts and choice of
tools that we choose to use or not when creating. But, for me it is
what is done and how it is done that determines whether or not we are
at that point in time being the artist, the technician or doodling
while daydreaming. I believe that when the artist is creating and is
in that zone where true creativity takes place the "art" is his or
her process for bringing together concepts, designs, tools,
techniques, inspiration and that special magic that he or she has
been "gifted" with. That secific process can only take place in that
specific individual at that specific point in time. Once done, for
the artist, the "art" is complete. If no one else ever sees the
piece created, the "art" has still taken place.

Then, if at some point in time, another person or people see the by
product of the artist's process, the by product may then be
experienced as a piece of "art" by the person experiencing it. Is
the product a piece of art because it matches the viewer's drapes, or
because it made the viewer feel a certain "uuumph" deep within?
Either reason for calling the piece art may be as valid as the
other. The viewing is the second opportunity for a piece to be
considered "art."

For the artist, the by product can be something that lasts forever
simply because of the media chosen. But regardless of how permanent
or how temporary the media, for the artist, his or her "art" has
still taken place...it existed and he/she experienced it...was there
for it...was "it" for the time it took place.

So, related to henna, I believe that those moments when "art" takes
place do indeed exist...that one can indeed be a henna artist. But
there are times when one is also just a technician, doodler, student,
entertainer. And I believe that has a lot to do with "how" one sits
in the process...how much time one has put into learning,
understanding, knowing, mastering the craft, materials, techniques,
context and concepts. There is a point in time when it owns you and
you own it. You know when you have passed through that door. Every
time one sits down to henna, paint, sculpt or whatever, they do not
go through that door. But, you know when you have...and do...and
are. And, you also know and appreciate all of the TIME...measured in
years...it takes to get there.

I think that separation between the process and the product is what
often makes others think that a particular piece of work is "the most
wonder piece of art they have ever experienced" and the artist will
place not nearly so much value on the piece.

I also believe that may well be the reason for such secrecy and/or
perceived secrecy among henna artists concerning their recipe and
procedures and processes. In some respect, it would be like someone
asking me what paint I used to paint a picture...thinking that will
tell them something about my art. I will tell them. But I will also
know that I have told then next to nothing about my art. Rarely do
artists truly speak about the true ART of the by products that others
consider their art. They are asked about and therefore speak about
the media, materials, concepts and technique. Not about their ART
and the private intimate moments when they are one with the process
where the artist lives.

I don't see henna or Mehndi every reaching the status of what is
considered by some to be a "high art" or "fine art" form. I also
don't see the necessity for that. If Mehndi can remain in the homes
of people and at community fairs and parties and celebrations, that
would be enough for me. Right now, it seems like lots of people are
having fun with henna again. Lots of people are using henna as a way
to make a living. People are working to make the connection between
the current popularity of henna/mehndi with its history and
tradition. Does picking up some henna powder, a cone, syringe, j-
bottle of henna paste make one an artist? No more than picking up a
hammer makes one a carpenter. Can a carpenter with a hammer enter
that zone that truly is the ART and create something that may be
called a piece of art? Yep!!! But the carpenter will need more than
the hammer to make that possible...just as the person with the henna
powder, a cone, syringe, j-bottle with paste will need much much more
to enter that space where ART takes place and to emerge from that
space with a by product that makes someone else say, "Uuuuumph!"

Maureen

 


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