When an artist creates a work he/she creates an expression of something personally known, even if the work is far-out science fiction writing, or abstract painting. An artist paints, writes words, writes music, acts in film or on stage, or sculpts, from something personal within. The viewable, readable, or audible creation may be untrue all the way around, but the artist often uses untruth to bring forth truth. When an artist does this, it is a truth he or she accepts, and then the artist attempts to impart that truth to viewers, readers, listeners.
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. -― Pablo Picasso
An artist makes a statement about the world as he understands it. This is a personal world. In the artist’s view, it can be a good world that he wants to praise, or a bad one that he wants to condemn.
But an artist will have strong feelings about it, one way or another, before his art is complete. This is the motivation for a person who creates. It is a statement, an observation, a whole persona.
The artist has been given a gift. A vocation to follow. And in doing so, he/she can live a good life, a life of purpose. A life of service, and even holiness.
The most direct way for the artist to live a good life is by making good art. To this task the artist must bring, not so much Christian principles, but the whole of his or her personality, including religious faith. A particular artist’s work begins with his or her distinct talents and preoccupations. Yet much of the self must be left behind in the act of making. Virtue, for the artist, involves subordinating the good of the self to the good of the thing made; and to do this, the artist must cultivate “the habit of art”—by developing skills and work habits and purifying the source of inspiration. There is service in this, even holiness; at the same time, there is freedom for the artist to put some of those scruples about everyday life aside.– Paul Elie, Pious Anxiety: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal
An artist who allows his/her soul to move them toward truth, is a satisfied artist, and that is a very good life.