The role of an artist...a psychological perspective

Art is more than paint on canvas. Art is a way of life. How we greet each day, how we express the many ideas and emotions within us, and how we choose to spend time, all work together to sculpt our personal story on earth. So, in a way, we, as humans, are all artists. But not all humans call themselves artists, so what is it about me that drives me to create paintings and to identify as an artist?

In college I took a psychology course called 'Theories of the Creative Process.' In it, we studied writings by Sigmund Freud. In a work titled "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis" he claims that an artist "makes it possible for other people once more to derive consolation and alleviation from their own sources of pleasure in their unconscious which have become inaccessible to them" (468). He suggests that artists, by creating a work of art, give their audience a door through which to access repressed or unexpressed ideas. 

Consider the Rorschach tests, also known as inkblot tests. Ambiguous images of bilaterally symmetrical inkblots are shown to the viewer who then describes what comes to mind. The test is designed to reveal the character traits and personality of the viewer. Here is an example:

One of the ten Rorschach ink blots ( source: Wikipedia)

One of the ten Rorschach ink blots (source: Wikipedia)


The style which I have developed, called Abstract Precisionism, uses ambiguous forms and designs to compose a larger, unambiguous whole. The interpretation of the forms and designs can be personal to each viewer, and in a way, opens a door for the viewer to learn about his or her own identity. So, while we are all artists of life, working artists serve by providing a means through which the audience can shine light on the depths of their own minds.

The painting shown here is called "Monterey." It is part of my large scale California series, sizing in at 4' x 5'. There is so much to be found in this painting. It is one of the more complex pieces I have done. In the cropped fragment below the main image, I see a woman who is reaching for a distant verson of herself, either smaller or in the past. What do you see?