Screwtape for Artists, Letter 3: On Originality

Monotype experiment, Suzanne Edminster

Monotype experiment, Suzanne Edminster

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

C. S. Lewis

Stormy weather outside, for California, that is. There’s a beautiful grey light against the too-early bloom of the magnolia petals outside the classroom door. magnolia

This C.S. Lewis quote really spoke to me, especially as I flounder about in a new media for a while. Reduced to the status of a beginner, questions of originality pale against simple technical ignorance. As I get older, I feel less unique and special, less original, as a person. I share experience with so many, and, as and adult, know it.

Dear Wormseed,

Congratulations on  the recent sale of the Gauguin for 300 million dollars. A flood of artists will feel discouraged in their own art, and the price obscures the painting itself completely, making it nearly impossible to view with fresh eyes.  Corruption rules!

The Subject-Artist recently proposed making a tableau of dream images.  This is very dangerous, as these inner vapors carry far too much information and spirit, and may speak to others as well.  Keep her in the familiar territory of easily understood beauty, like your recent Artist-Subject Thomas Kincaid.  You earned a sizeable bonus on him, did you not?

You are on still on shaky ground with the daily studio visits.  You must redouble your efforts to keep her away, or you will feel the consequences.  Keep your team on the streets with graffiti– it was brilliant to unify the art impulse with vandalism.  Keep it up.

In Venom–

Screwtape

Archived:  Letter 1 and Letter 2

 

4 comments

  1. I know what you mean about feeling less unique as one gets older. Personally I find that to be such an enormous relief. And then there’s the age advantage onthe other side of being more comfortable with those eccentricities that drive the art.

    Like

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