True art is magic.
Not the mystical stuff of fairy tales and fantasy; no, art is the skilled stagecraft of the illusionist, the sleight of hand and lateral thinking that directs our minds to see that which is not, strictly speaking, there. Art leads us to believe in real magic, the magic that lies within us.
It requires the illusions of words, of paint, of misdirection, to allow us to suspend our disbelief. Art opens us up to possibilities we would not otherwise see, that do exist yet remain so hard to recognize.
The creation of art, true art, good art, requires all the craft of the stage magician. It does not spring forth without thought or plan from the artist. The idea that it is all talent is simply part of the illusion, a mystical pass of the hands, a flip of a flamboyant but concealing cape.
Does it hurt to know how the trick was performed? Not really; if anything, it opens the mind to new ways of dealing with problems. At the same time, it is certainly not necessary to have any inkling of the mechanics for one to be profoundly affected by either art or magic. The feeling of wonder, of suspecting there are things we do not know -- but should -- is the important part.
I will now produce a poem from my hat. Chances are, you'll never see how it was done, as your eyes will be on my beautiful assistant.
Stephen Brooke ©2009