I was in correspondence with a good friend and fellow artist today, someone who's perceptive mind and ideas have always had a telling impact on helping me understand my own labyrinthine connection to what it is to be an artist. His statement "art is life for me- life is art" is so deceptively simple that it takes a minute to realize actually how profound that statement is. What is art if it is not the actual visceral core of one person's experience brought to a point of beauty and as a transmissible object of contemplation. Put all the crap aside- it is what is left over after the hype, efforts to achieve novel or noticeable effects, visibility via celebrity, and chasing the carrot of the latest novelty whether it is painting, conceptual art or photography. The moment of conviction- the point at which something fundamentally human is expressed is the moment when beauty (or call it magic, or mystery) is brought to life. And this is the depth of feeling one person has for and in, life. That is why some things register as art, and some things as novelty. Why some things fly and others only walk or remain stationary. Skill is that of the mind and not the hand, and it is the unwavering connection with that which is true and significant that makes art. The statement by Wilde "art is what is left over after everything else has fallen away" makes better sense if one considers what the left over bits refer to.
Teachers lead by example, but the learning is knowledge we build together.