There’s a certain appeal to pragmatism. I’m not referencing Charles Peirce’s philosophical movement in the 1870’s – but simply the idea of linking practice and theory in our art and dedications. Personally, I’m dedicated to my family, art, career and yoga. I’m sure I could give you a more detailed list to chew on, but that’s the top of the top, the crème de la crème of my ‘pragmatic dedication’. This week, I won’t go on about charity, helping others or ‘doing’ for the community - this week... I would like to go inside and see how we ‘do’ for ourselves.
Before we dive right into the ‘self’ - let’s talk a little about pragmatic art. As you may or may not know, there are several theories of art and pragmatism in a way, is one of them. There’s expressive, abstract, romanticism, naturalism, conceptual, formalism, symbolism, post modernism, to name a few. But the one that intrigues me most is pragmatism as an art form. Why, do you ask? Because pragmatic art is conceptualized in terms of its effect on its audience to enhance experience, thought and escape from reality. Now who doesn’t want that? This form of art is a specific attempt to create a shared experience with the observer. We can link our art with theory and vice versa to perceive a higher reality, promote cultural continuity and communicate to our fellow human being in a whole new way...
As an experience.
Now, that’s not to say that all art is not an experience. The silent observer often feels emotion or a connection to the art they see. This is axiomatic. But I’m speaking about a level of connection that lies deeper than the surface and the visual. This is art that moves you on an entirely different plane. This is art that changes you - because it’s made up of the dedicated and delicate artist’ soul. When we share our most precious art with the world, we often hope to generate an emotional response. But with pragmatism, the way I practice it, the art creates change in the world, not just you. But how does this relate to the self you might be asking?
I practice yoga. I’m dedicated to it. Yoga teaches me to let go of expectations so I can experience life as it is in the moment. I take that with me everywhere I go. By practicing this level of peace, I can always come back to it when I am with my family, at work or creating art. And there’s nothing like being ‘in the moment’ when creating art. Every artist knows this feeling and is driven by it. This is you/us on the deepest level. (This was the part about ‘the self’)
Dedicate time to your art, yourself and your loved ones. Taking the practical approach allows you to look even deeper into everything you plan to accomplish. Looking ahead to the way your art will change the world can be an enlightening experience. Just remember that the changes you create are usually subtle and small. Of course, there are times when an image or a work of art can effectively shape a nation or begin a movement. But please remember, first and foremost to look within yourself - live in the moment and dedicate yourself to - yourself. By doing so, you can take the first steps into an amazing world of oneness. And as far as I’m concerned - that’s pragmatic dedication.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.