Right now I’m thinking about dance, which I’ve enjoyed and done for a lifetime, but this could apply to pretty much any creative or expressive endeavour. There are many elements to any form of expression. Some are skill based, but just being theoretically competent or even talented doesn’t necessarily make someone ‘good’ or their work mesmerising. Of course there’s also a huge element of taste. What moves me may leave you cold, or even offend you. Sometimes incredibly naive and unskilled work can have a surprising impact. Some are naturally talented, others have to strive to produce work of even meagre quality, but then again that work may be powerfully insightful or to have a far greater impact than the theoretically ‘good’.
Someone said to me recently (about a dancer) that the one who was the most noticeable and impressive was the one who fully inhabited her body, and I can see and appreciate something along those lines may be at the heart of the matter. I know when I paint, or dance (or do pretty much anything), it’s the times I lose myself, where I feel like a conduit or lose all sense of self consciousness, where I (forgive the terminology) feel to become one with whatever I’m doing when it seems I produce my best work.
Maybe there’s a parallel there between reaching the point of being able to do any skill (driving for example) as second nature, where you don’t have to think about it so you pretty much extend your body to the shape and size of the car and your limbs and senses become extensions of the various tools you need to manoeuvre the car.
Some people have skills and gifts which leave most breathtaken, even if they may not like whatever it is. I can look at some art and know I could never in a million years produce work of that technical quality. But I also sometimes wonder why they didn’t just save themselves the bother and take a photo. It’s that spark, that indefinable quality, which makes something good, imo, whether or not the person doing it has amazing skills or none at all. But what that something is….well, that’s not only open to debate but also perhaps ultimately impossible to pin down. Maybe that’s what makes it so attractive.