Art is magic.
From start to finish, art would not be without magic. Ultimately, we strive to make magic through our art: to cause that sharp intake of breath, that pause, that triggered emotion that comes from seeing something unexpected, touching, provoking, beautiful.
Even in the beginning, before its inception, art is dependent on the spell woven out of inspiration. Ever elusive, inspiration can sometimes be frustrating, maddening, and mysterious. But then, it is there, and it works, and we produce unexpectedly something out of sheer nothing.
Making art is magically compelling. It connects. How many times have you seen a passing bystander peering over the shoulder of a street artist, fascinated to look and see? Sit down with paint and unfailingly, your child will come over to make art too. Carry a large camera on the street and complete strangers will react, comment, and surprisingly even stop to pose.
Previously, I have been shy of these connections. I would hesitate to lift my camera. But more and more, I try and the unexpected happens. Yesterday, a walk on a misty, Remembrance Sunday morning turned into a story when a priest looked straight down my lens with a grin. He stopped to chat. He put his hat on my daughter’s head. He spoke of the weather on this Sunday and many, many Remembrance Sunday’s past. (OK, so yes, the English always manage to mention the weather in any conversation...) He spoke of the Great War, and his sadness that many of those memories are fading as the generations turn. He spoke of Afghanistan and of his pride in all of the cadets who give and yet, who hope for peace.
And suddenly, all for my camera, my morning became something more. It became this blog posting. It became a connection, and a memory with a meaning deeper than the photographs it produced. It became a vehicle to the stories that we all carry and want to tell.
But the last and biggest kind of magic that comes from art is in the essence of art itself. It is how finished art lives today and potentially through many lifetimes. Art renews: it remakes itself for each viewer; it brings out memories and it evokes feelings in each repeated viewing. It carries us back and it drives us forward. Perhaps this is the fascination that continually pushes us in our artistic endeavours and keeps us under a spell. Let’s sit and enjoy it, shall we?