I once heard an Italian sculptor friend of mine refer to a photorealistic painting as having no soul. I was a bit puzzled by the phrase and later asked him what he meant by it. He said that the work didn’t have any noticeable elements that showed the humanity of the person behind the work, he was talking about imperfections. The painting was too perfect. He explained that there are artists that hide behind their work and those that share a part of themselves. This is something that is sometimes done subconsciously, and that it is a talent to know how much of the messy parts of yourself you want to share and what you want to keep hidden and mysterious. Some artists have a natural instinct for it and that others have to learn it.
When something is handmade, it shows small imperfections that make it more endearing, and give it a certain charm. You can literally see the hand marks of the maker’s work, or soul of the piece. This makes them special, each one different, with a life of their own. And if the piece is well made to be heirloom, it has a journey ahead of it, beyond one person’s life and a story of love and appreciation to tell. I realize this is why I love old thing with a past so much. It is more than just the idea of them, but the touchable history of other’s lives.
I was completely surprised and suddenly very interested by the deep interworking of his thoughts on the creative process. I realized that this idea of a solid physical piece of artwork can extend to any creative process that has a sensual manifestation, like music. I remember reading, “Why Musicians Make Us Weep And Computers Don’t.” Music played perfectly by a computer sounded just that, stiff, It is not as emotionally moving as music played by a human being. And that our brains respond differently to the two. I think it is the same with other art and crafted items. That on some level we respond and know the difference between an assembly line made item and something that was crafted by human hands and minds.
Why Musicians Make Us Weep And Computers Don’t.