An Experiment in Understanding

“Life manifests a fundamental urge to observe itself as an action exhibiting both meaning and mystery. This urge is no more extinct in adults than in children.”

–Hans Urs von Balthasar

Creating art is a curious phenomenon. It is an attempt to give form to an idea while at the same time retaining the power of its mystery (or, if you will, its un-form). It is no wonder that works of art shed such a great light on human experience, because human experience also seems to contain this paradox: our actions attempt to bring meaning to the mystery of our being.

As artists, we have a particular insight into this meeting of meaning and mystery. We may also, therefore, have a responsibility, as St. Thomas Aquinas encouraged us to do, to “contemplate, and share the fruits of your contemplation.”

The goal of this blog is to do just that, to contemplate what I have come to call the Artistic Vocation in the context of a sustained discussion amongst artists.

The discussion will take place in largely two parts:

a) the discussions themselves, as prompted by the posts  and continued in the comment boxes. The posts will circle around the insights of people much, much more intelligent, insightful, and holy than I am.

b) the “pre-discussion discussions,” or prolegomena, that set the terms of the conversation. I have outlined a number of topics I think are critical to a solid understanding of the ArtVoc, and these prolegomena will hover largely around these at first. These topics are Culture, Beauty, Art and the Artist, Artist as Art, Mystery, Incarnation, Inspiration, Co-Creation and Sub-Creation, Discernment, Discipline, Freedom and Responsibility, Resistance, and Temptation. Each of these terms will be unpacked in subsequent posts, and I may add to this list of ‘basics’ as things progress.

Also, from time to time, others will be invited to pen the posts that serve as the conversation springboards.

So check in regularly, subscribe to the RSS feed, but most importantly, participate in the conversation (and invite your friends to do so as well).


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