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Aug 31, 2017

What does it take to create “Good Art?” Who decides? What elements or components are necessary to deem something good? My guest today is the renowned artist, Burton Silverman. This is part one of our two part conversation where we discuss a wide range of topics from the components of “Good Art,” discovering your artistic voice, the role of setting and presentation in art, racism and the fear of “the other,” and so much more! Burt draws from his vast wealth of experience and thoughtfulness and I know artists like you will value his contributions as much as I have.

What makes for “Good Art?”

How would you describe “Good Art?” Have you thought about it? Do you have a definition of it? How did you arrive at that conclusion? Artist, Burt Silverman opened up to me about what he thinks are the components of good art. Burt says that it comes down to craftsmanship and the ability to record the world in an accurate way. He further elaborates on this idea by explaining that there is an element in good artwork that transcends technical ability and taps into something deeper. In our conversation, Burt didn’t explain this “deeper” aspect further but I appreciate that he was willing to welcome an element of mystery and the unknown.

The Artistic Voice

A common question I get when it comes to diving deeper into the life of an artist is, “How do you discover your artistic voice?” So what was it like for you? What was your journey like that led you to move more and more into creating the art that you are passionate about? My guest, Burton Silverman was kind enough to consider this question and provide his insights. Burt says that for him it comes down to tapping into an inner sense from your gut and out of that flows the feelings that you believe you are compelled to share with the world. There are so many angles to this topic I know there will be some of you that really resonate with what Burt shared and others who come from a different approach - the diversity of thought is wonderful!

Setting and Presentation

What role do context, setting, and presentation have to play when it comes to viewing art work? In your opinion, does it play a role at all? Is there any difference between art that is completed and admired in the studio and artwork that is presented and shown in a gallery? How does setting impact the viewing? These are all questions and lines of thought that Burton Silverman and I discussed in our recent conversation. Burt pointed out that there is some sort of transformation that takes place from the studio setting and context to when the artwork is displayed in an intentional and meaningful way.

Creating Room for Freedom and Expression

What is your relationship to the concept of freedom when it comes to the creative process? Do you feel free to express yourself and work in a place outside of the lines? Or do you find yourself shackled to rules and boxes that you can’t cross? In our conversation, Burton Silverman and I talk about the role of rules and school of thought. Of course, they have an important role to play but they can also get in the way of our ability to push the limits and think outside of preconceived norms and expectations. I hope you get a sense of the freedom of expression that Burt and I discussed and make sure to come back next week for part two of our conversation!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:50] I introduce my guest, Burton Silverman.
  • [4:30] Burt talks about attending Fiorello Laguardia School of the Arts.
  • [10:30] What is it that makes a work of art “good?”
  • [15:00] Discovering the artistic voice.
  • [24:00] The role of setting and presentation in art.
  • [39:00] Racism and fear of the “other”
  • [47:00] The role of rules and schools of thought.

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