Every character, story, painting, encounter, any art form which requires expression; has an underlying backstory to it, an essence of the creator.
No matter how much the artist attempts to conceal it, to not let be the definition of their work, it’s nearly impossible to prevent a part of our inner self leaking into the work we do create; forming individuality and uniqueness.
A war-hero writing about the atrocities of battle, or a musician singing a song about losing a loved one; fiction or not — they all inherit a meticulously guided perception of the creator’s vision projected to an audience, from the outside looking in.
Take characters, such as Andy Kaufman, a personality so complex that even the closest of confidants are unable to decipher what drove the comedian to form outlandish characters upon a character of its own.
Nobody really knows who the real Andy Kaufman was, but the characters he exhibited to the outside world were emotional leakage; an insight into the feeling of loneliness and alienation.
Take the foreign man for example, an innocent, child-like character who spoke broken english; appearing insecure, playing along to an audience pretending not knowing, as though they’re laughing at him and not with him.
Exposing the insecurities, the ugliness, the we all conceal from the outside world; the foreign man character forces the audience to laugh at a seemingly unaware portrayal of an entertainer who is willing to do whatever it would to please the audience, as they laugh at his expense.
The iconic character of the Tramp developed by Charlie Chaplin, and the memorable ‘walk’ of the character; for which many would associate as one of the major characters traits, not realising the tramp was forced to walk in such a way as the soles of his shoes were worn down.
An inner-reflection, emotional leakage, of Chaplin’s own upbringing of coming from poverty and a life filled with struggles; he channeled his personal inherent feelings of loneliness into a charismatic character — one which would become a source of inspiration, fuel for his survival.
Similar to Andy Kaufman’s portrayal of the foreign man, the tramp is a reflection of an inherent emotion exhibited by the artist as a means of exhibiting a deeper rooted memory and experience of their inner-selves.
These creations by an artist, though concealed from the outside world, are a masked reflection of reaching deep within to develop a defence mechanism to create a sense of genuine devotion; one that requires sheer dedication and discipline.
To never let the mask slip, maintaining the appearance at all times.
There is a nod to the level of devotion it takes to be an artist, in Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece “The Prestige”.
“Hiding in plain sight”, is the greatest trick of all — the true masters who found these skills to be inherent within their creations, understanding the devotion it takes to truly stay true to the ethical code; the sacrifice to be made to produce something truly worthy of value. As is explored throughout the film in multiple layers, leaving behind breadcrumbs of truth — only to be revealed, the greatest trick of all is being pulled right in front of the audience all along.
It’s moments in which an artist, truly vulnerable, can master their inherent experiences to fold them into layers concealing the truth behind it all to form a presentation for the audience they exhibit to.
Taking it to levels, people rarely dare to — yet the artist is able to do so by developing a mask, an alter-ego, a stigma, around their work; to reveal a further meaning through social interpretation.
The example of a Banksy painting being auctioned for over a Million Pounds, only to have it shred before the very eyes of the audience; the artist is continuing to put on a show.
Only to realise, the painting would now probably be worth more to the buyer with the stunt attached to it.
Driving the value of the art, further, even though it’s shredded to bits.
Revealing the sense of how society perceived the exhibited artwork, whilst the creator inhibits the qualities of their inner-self in a portrayal of complete lack of regard for the monetary value of it; revealing the social facade through experimentation — the sheer materialistic and pretentious nature of the exhibitionists.
A polarising view of once before when Banksy sold his artwork on the side of a street, to unsuspecting buyers who were in-fact purchasing “Genuine” pieces of Banksy’s work for 60$ each.
Revealing, that art in fact should be valuable regardless of the brand attached to it — but rather the feeling it invokes within the audience it’s exhibited to, is the greatest reward of all.