Ask an unspecified amount of people on the street how to define art, and it's likely that you won't get an exact definition twice. The concept of what qualifies as art is so nebulous and broad that it makes the prospect of being an artist occasionally confusing and dissonant. Fortunately, jack-of-all-musical-trades Adam Watts has taken the time to provide an almost clinical breakdown of all things artiste in his book The Human of Being Art: A Holistic Approach to Being an Artist and Creating Art.
A quick glance at the Table of Contents might be dizzying at first, as there are a ton of lengthy chapter titles that seemingly span every aspect of being an artist. But the true heart of the book lies in analyzing the various paradoxes that plague artisthood - artistic expression versus success, authenticity versus perfectionism, The Ego versus The Self, and so on. Watts utilizes principles, exercises, examples, and quotes as his means of conveying ideas that are meant to ease these tensions. Occasionally, Watts lets his silly side come out (the hypothetical aside of art as a drug is particularly hilarious), but the tone of the book is mostly intent on being informative. Some personal stories of how these abstract ideologies become tangible would have been preferential, but the content itself is presented in a way that is easy to grasp.
If this book were to be compared to television, one could say that it works better as an episodic sitcom than a long-form dramatic narrative. One can pick and choose which chapters to read without losing a sense of flow. This was a bit surprising: for a book that focuses on a holistic approach, there is not much necessary cohesion between each of the chapters. Conversely, each section of the book spends a proper amount of time with their designated topic as well as thoughtful tidbits that could be expounded upon in discussion (i.e. "Art is either the spice or the dish or both," "Emotion aims thought," "Subjective Objectivity is the wellspring of our most authentic artistic choices").
Adam Watts' The Human of Being Art: A Holistic Approach to Being an Artist and Creating Art is at its most helpful when the consumer uses their freedom to pick and choose which chapters to read. Of course, all of the information presented is useful for anyone aspiring to be a career artist, create art more fully, or even relate to the artists in their lives. Understanding how we function as creators in light of the Creator is always a worthwhile endeavor, and this book is certainly a worthwhile read.- Review date: 5/24/18, written by Mason Haynie of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Publisher: Broken City Artists
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