Thursday, November 5, 2015

Institute participant Nate Speare ( uses performing arts, symbolic ways of thinking and mythology as tools to empower and inspire people of all ages. He will be working on a project entitled, “Astrological Dramas: Exploring Conversations Between Archetypes."  A graduate of the Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University’s cutting-edge program, Nate posed this question to the other members of the Institute:
From Nate:
Wanted to send along this short classic text, "Dharma Art Letter" by Chogyam 
Trungpa Rinpoche, one of my 'heroes'
(I went to Naropa for grad school which he founded).
I feel it speaks to our conversation from Monday
about the relationship between artistic practice and
how an artist relates with the world, and one's attitude
toward one's work.
Thoughts? Provocations? Agree? Disagree?
Does it sound like 'truisms' from 1974 or are these equally
relevant concepts to dialogue and dance with in 2015?
My response:
Nate, thanks for this -- much appreciated!
For me, the most important line in the post is this one: In meditative art, the artist embodies the viewer as well as the creator of the works. 
That is to say: the audience is present during the act of creation.  A very different attitude than the recent "art-hero" vision of the lonely artist, concerned 100% with his voice and not-at-all with those who might see the work.
Now, it is also important to differentiate between a contemplative artist (about which, I think, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is speaking here) and the activist artist.  For the activist artist, the process outlined in this posting is the first (and perhaps most important) step -- but another vital aspect of the equation is then figuring out infiltration vectors into the public consciousness.  This model (Prophetic Activist Art) does not "trust in the universe" to deliver the correct audience, nor in the interest of the audience.  It takes the art -- created with "an attitude of directness and unself-consciousness" and then looks about to find expanding manners or bringing it to audiences -- many of who might not, at first, think they are interested in the art or its message.

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