Beginnings, 10 x 10″ acrylic
“The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.”
– Tom Clancy
Here is one of the great paradoxes in life.
Most people would agree that art (I think of art as a form of fiction) has to make some sense – if it’s totally random, it crosses the line from art to something else. The artist must have some intention, even if it is obscure to them and others. You make choices about design, color, value, etc in ways that make some sense to you.
Even art that seems random is probably not created randomly. Ask the artist – they weren’t just splashing paint around with their eyes closed (now, I don’t want to hear from all of you painters who do just that!). You have to have an extraordinarily broad definition of art to include something that makes no sense at all.
Reality, on the other hand, can sometimes be quite random or without apparent sense. Or at least it is so complex as to defy any attempt to make sense of it. And we accept this. Not to say that there are not things in reality that have exquisite design and make total sense. Just that we do not reality to the same “standard” as we do fiction.
In some way, the artist is always trying to make sense of something, whether it be reality or their imagination. The degree to which they are successful at this at least partially defines the success of their art.