Ceilon’s Philosophy of Art and Life

“That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.”–Frederich Nietzche

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”–Orson Welles

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.”–Albert Einstein

What does knowing that I identify with the three quotes above tell you about me? If I didn’t know me and I were trying to answer that question, I would guess that I believe that adversity can be a good thing when we are able to learn something from the experience, that it’s not always such a great thing to get everything we think we want exactly the way we think we want it, and that when we reach out to grasp for great things we are bound to be told that we are crazy. Is that what you guessed? Congratulations! You’ve figured me out.

But seriously…those three quotes could essentially sum up the three most valuable lessons that I’ve learned as an artist and as a human being. I’ve also learned that I cannot separate my artist self from my human self–they are one and the same. I have been an artist my entire life. I happened to get a BFA from Mississippi State that makes it official, but the truth is that I was created to be an artist and that’s what I am. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life, but none of them nullified my artist-self. It is who I am. It is what I do. It colors everything I do and say. Of course, there are a lot of other things that define me, as well. But that is the one thing that makes me who I am.

During my working life, I have been a grocery store cashier, a store clerk in a variety of retail situations, a picture framer, a hairdresser, a programmer, and some other things I’ve forgotten. But none of those things describe who I am, they were just what I was doing to pay the bills. Art came through in all of those jobs. Art is who I am.

You can click on the Portfolio link to see examples of my work. When you look at them you may come to all kinds of conclusions about what I’m trying to say or convey or communicate through my style/medium/etc. But they really aren’t that complicated. They just tell stories. Art, for me, is simply a storytelling medium. I am simply a storyteller. I merely record stories as they are told to my heart by my Creator in whatever medium seems right at the telling. I usually use graphite and colored pencil, because it is immediate and portable and simple. But sometimes I use watercolor, or acrylic paint, or pastels, or oil paints, or all of those together, or just some of those together. It just depends on the story. If I were you, I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to figure out what story I was being told. I would just let the images tell you a story, and try to hear that story. Enjoy the story. That’s all.

So, if I had to sum up what my philosophy of art is (which, I suppose, is the purpose of this page), I’d say this: art is just one of many tools in the vast toolbox of humanity with which we attempt to communicate with other human beings. Using art in this way is one of the things that makes us human beings. Since prehistoric times, humans have attempted to communicate with each other, with our Creator, and with our inner selves through the use of artwork. I suppose I am no different. There is no lofty meaning or purpose behind the artwork that I create. I create it because if I don’t I will shrivel up and die inside. Making art makes me human. It keeps me connected with the human race. It helps me to understand the beauty and ugliness of human beings. It’s how I make sense of the world. I don’t think there need be any loftier purpose for it than that.