A voice says that an artist must not only refine their craft, but also cultivate the potential to be a kind of channel who lends his or her hands and consciousness to celebrate the universal seen in the particular, revealing deeply felt truths that precede words; things we call beautiful without knowing why. It suggests that a message with a power of it's own which transcends the artist's ego lives and dies in the artwork and can be perceived, not by analyzing it intellectually, but rather entering it directly.
Another voice says in contradiction that the meaning of an image is not inherently contained within it, as formalism insists, but is rather a dynamic event shared with its viewer’s appraisal, informed by context and language and inseparable from an impersonal cultural discourse.
Yet another voice says to neither hold to an aesthetic or anti-aesthetic paradigm, but rather experiment within the zone of uncertainty. There is still the idea in operation that doing something and being somebody is better than doing nothing and being nobody.
For someone in retreat all those intellectual games and avenues to self-importance are just distractions. Fortunately, there is a subtler voice. This voice says to dissolve the distinction between art and life, indeed between life and death entirely. It says that it is possible to be creative without making any physical objects or contrived performances at all; that it’s not necessary to even think about art, much less forbid it. This breath whispers that it is more than enough to train in the generation and completion stages of the inner Tantras for the rest of your life. The ego will do almost anything to avoid hearing this voice of devotion.