Discipline as a Support System for Art – DP Mavia

Discipline is a support system for Art. This is a statement that I have been broadcasting primarily because I am the first partaker of its truism. I was recording a short video for the creative kind then I strayed into the thinking around Discipline and Art. Soon after thoughts and ideas began dew dropping and formed some sort of philosophical framework of Discipline and Art.

Discipline is a commitment to a way of thinking. A disciple is not just one who follows but one who has inclined his relevance to a philosophy. He becomes the embodiment of an ideal. If we derive our definition of discipline from this then discipline is tying ourselves to a form of artistic expression until we bring it out in its purity – without exaggeration or depravity. So we can say that every artistic notion streamlines us to a form of commitment if we have to see its delivery of exactness.

Discipline, Art and Work

Discipline is what turns Art into Work. Many creative kinds do not look at their art as work. Society has molded the notion that the seemingly carefreeness of Art is not work, unfortunately many artists have obliged. When discipline kicks into Art then Work has started. The first principle of Work is Definition. Work is derived from who the Worker defines himself to be and the kind of Work they produce. So work defines Worker and itself. The idea of art may come through some subliminal imaginative descent but it gets its feet concretely planted on the ground when you design some discipline to make it see the light of day.

Discipline is spelt process. The discipline needed to bring out art is what fashions our daily routines, associations and collaborations. The artist may never be the same when they produce a piece of art. Every art may come with its own fair share of discipline. Each art has a path. Art rattles the artist. That does not mean Art is superior to the Artist. It means the artist as a conductor or filter of interpretation tempers himself to suit an accurate representation of the art in question. That tempering impacts upon him.


Repetition is mastery. Repetition is meditative. It is an essential ingredient of discipline. It is crystalizing art into Memory. Repetition is storage. But it is more than having a cerebral barn of routines and methods. It is turning the experience of rehearsal into an environment of fusion or creative permutations. Sticking unto a line of commitment to produce art may mean you repeat some things. They may seem mundane and monotonous but you have not enjoyed art until what people consider as strokes of monotony become a well shaded portraiture. Repetition is seeing again, it is seeing better. It is adjustment to the rhythm and oscillation of the production of art. If monotony turns into frustration then it means discipline has lost its value and meaningfulness.

Value and Meaningfulness as Grace

When we get frustrated in the making of art we ask ourselves ‘ WHY? – why am I even doing this?’. Why means Value, it is the question of purpose and direction. Tucked deep into the question of why is fulfillment, measurability and deadline. You never work on most pieces of art forever at some point you have to finish it so that humanity may consume and enjoy it. So the malady of artistic fatigue is cured when the reason of making art stays at the forefront. Value and meaningfulness gives grace and makes discipline more bearable. What value does it constructively distracts us from the selfish gene especially when it docks into the mode of despair. Value and meaningfulness reminds us of every one else it demythologizes ‘art for me’ and reminds us of ‘art for someone else’.

Dead Art

Dead art is art that has not been subjected to Discipline. Which means it may never see the light of day and if it does it will be perverted or skewed. There is a sense in which before exact Art can be produced dead art must precede it. Not all artists are spontaneous masters it takes many takes before good art can begin to come out. But the many takes I am talking about heavily rely upon the determination of the artist to lose himself through discipline before he can find his new self in good art.

There is also the other kind of dead art which is art that we will never see because of the undetermined creator to master himself to be an appropriate filter of good art. I have killed books and manuscripts, songs and poems because of a voluntary dosage of lethargy. The presumptive false ideal that tomorrow is another day has many times robbed the world and me at large of pieces they may never see or hear. Dead artist walking may not be a good mantra, but by and large many ideas are locked up in people who have given up on the idea of Effort and death of the self-gene.

Sagifying Myself

My private definition of a Sage is a person that has stopped competing with time. He is wise to invest in a piece of creation wholly a minute at a time. I used to hurry because I thought my art is late and my moments are slowly ebbing away. In the event of rushing out pieces I threw out many little bombs of art that had hints of genius but with the same breath also carried with them a sheen of fading mastery. So I have since decided to ruthlessly govern every fibre in me to first hone onto an idea of art then to excessively tie myself to its execution. The discipline to do that may not be pleasant but a finished product from my end tends to arouse a sense of authenticity even when I think I may have done better. I may have to oscillate between creating art for everyone and which comes with its own pressure, or resolve to make art for that one faceless individual without the determination for ovation. There may be a little wisdom in patience and pace of a Sage where instead of competing with time I resign to cooperating with it and justify its linear continuum by filling it with deserved art. Discipline!




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