Once artists open up to the inner voice, they seem to attach to it an emotion or a specific feeling, which makes the experience specific to the artist. Kapoor (2005) asserts that artists start to have a sense of an artwork with a feeling, and not with a definite assurance regarding the result or the completion of the work. A Feeling seem to guide the artist towards creation.
Chapter Feeling will be explored through the categories expansion, urge to create, and release.
Expansion / urge to create / release
Once the inner voice is acknowledged within the artist, its value is increased, bringing with it a state of growth. Jung (1963: 353) defines this state as ‘inflation’, an expansion of personality beyond the proper limits.
However, psychologist Abraham Maslow (1994: 37) challenges definitions of ‘proper limits’. Maslow asserts that people are far more admirable and awe inspiring than is conceived. According to Maslow, people are simply best, in their own natural state without a need to add non-natural transcendent characteristics to their experiences. Yeats agrees with this, adding that all wisdom and truths are already contained and present within people (1966: 189).
In that way, I note that the experience of inflation is a state where the artists’ attention grows to observe the already contained wisdom within. While inspiring things already exist, ‘…we have our eyes shut at them. We don’t hear them and we don’t see them’ (Ken Devine para. 37). The growth allows artists to go beyond restrictions, and release boundaries or blocks that limit one’s being.
Yet, artists report that the sense of inflation at this stage is not an intellectual but emotional one. The artist is not in a conscious state where he or she is allowing for an inner voice to bring with it intellectual ideas or new observations on the artist’s higher self. Poet Stevenson asks: ‘Where would it come from? I don’t know’ ( para. 8). Artists say that they feel emotion growing within them in those moments of inflation, and not an intellectual growth. The sense of creative flow ‘…come[s] as a burst of emotion,’ Paskin ( para. 2) explains, and not with a burst of intellect, as may be said. Through emotion the artists grow beyond restrictions to a state where they get a sense of their inner wisdom. Jung (1990: 78) describes this stage in the term ‘psychic formation’, explaining that it is subliminal until its energy-charge is sufficient to carry it over the threshold into the consciousness, where it turns into action. While still in the subliminal stage, the overflow of emotion, or energy-charge, brings the artist into a state of attention widening, in Maslow’s (1994: 28) terminology.
In automatic art, artists are trying to maintain this state and capture its impression in their work. Automatism requires the artist to suspend judgment and enter a state where natural impulses guide their hand, as can be seen in Masson’s automatic drawing (fig. 17).
[awaiting permission to upload image 17 here]
Figure 17: André Masson, Furious Suns (1925, pen and ink, 42 ×31 cm.) New York, Museum of Modern Art. © 2007 Artists Rights Society.
However, while in the state of inflation artists seem to acknowledge a creative impulse that does not flow from within only but also from reality itself. Painter Melanie Chan ( para. 24) explains, ‘Creativity is life; there is no separation for me of these two elements’. While Chan sees the creative flow within life, artist Vaara ( para. 39) believes that he himself is part of the creative flow:
‘we are as much part of the biosphere as a sunset is… From this point of view everybody is not an artist, as Joseph Beuys manifested, but rather everybody is art itself…’
Vaara explains that he ‘…create[s] art in order to participate in the process of the continuous creation of the world’ (para. 32). As such, the creative flow which is seen as being already present in life, includes the artists themselves. The sense of inflation with its emotional charge, does not ‘generate’ creativity, but rather open up the artists’ attention to see that they are part of the creative flow which is already present in life.
However, while artists are part of the creative flow, they often do not recognise it. It is only in moments of inflation that they can recognise their true nature. In that respect, I would not define the experience of inflation as an emotional growth, but on the contrary – as an emotional reduction, a deflation. The artist is deflated from the natural state of being part of the creative flow, into a point where he or she becomes aware and can observe this process. The seemingly emotional growth is an emotional reduction, a lowering from a state of being part of the collective unconscious to a state of being an individuated single part that can observe the collective unconscious.
The intensity of emotion can be seen as a normal state that the artists feels in their natural state, however with the reduction of their awareness this emotional capacity becomes too strong for their body to contain, bringing the urge for a release and expression through creating art.