In Search of the Heart in Art

The following is from an interview with Extreme Music for the book Love Live Forgive: Insights from Artists by Justin St. Vincent.




Love and forgiveness have origin in the heart of the sentient soul, and are communicated by way of conscious intention.  In and of themselves neither sound nor light, being insentient, possesses any intrinsic transformative facility.  Photons, electrons, molecules, all that is just stuff.  The qualified practitioner, or artist, may imbue a medium with the power to transform by using it as a conduit for the transmission of a conscious intention, or desire, perhaps even divine inspiration.  One who appreciates the resulting artifact may be moved to resonate with the qualities placed within it by the artist.  Love and forgiveness may be experienced when perceiving the object provided these qualities were experienced by the artist while shaping it, thus investing it with a conscious intention to communicate a spirit of love and forgiveness.


Let’s be clear.  It is as easy to compose a song that communicates fear and resentment as it is to compose one that communicates love and forgiveness.  Just because a thing is musical is not necessarily an indication that it derives out of kind-heartedness.  A sculpted rock is actually more likely to appear as something ugly than to inspire by its beauty, as so few sculptors are truly inspired or possess the skills necessary to translate their vision and intention into a work of beautiful art.


That said, artists and musicians are sensitive and introspective lot, by and large.  The inward gaze leads ultimately to the spiritual heart where peace reigns supreme.  From peace arises love, from love arises compassion, from compassion arises forgiveness (if there is a need for someone to be forgiven) and naturally from there follow all of the higher levels of conscious awareness.  An artist who knows how to subdue the distraction of petty desires and surrender to the influence of this inner peace will tend to be empowered with genuine inspiration and, with intention, the ability to produce a work of art that is moving to one who perceives it.


Gazing at a visual image or listening to a song that is harmonious in its composition and execution will tend to put one in a harmonious state.  Sound, being in its invisibility the most subtle of the sense objects, is the most apt to draw one’s awareness inward.  While low bass frequencies may sometimes be felt in the belly, for the most part music is only experienced in the psyche from where it may readily seep into the heart.  At its best, at its highest, art is an inward expression perceived and experienced inwardly.


Developing the ability to hear and sing the song of the heart has been central to my life for as long as I can remember, long before I knew how to articulate this notion with words.  It seems to me that the capacity to love and forgive is always present, requiring no transformation.  Knowing that this capacity exists is at least halfway to the goal of realizing it.

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