Jim Carrey on the Power of Art

You may think of Jim Carrey as the ultimate happy-go-lucky kind of guy and maybe a bit of a goofball. With his toothy grin and outsized personality, Carrey was a natural lead for movies such as Dumb and Dumber and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (toothy grin highly modified for the latter).

But it turns out that his movies with a more philosophical bent such as Liar Liar and The Truman Show reflect the real Jim Carrey. It also turns out that he is a phenomenal artist.

In real life, he has battled depression, mourned lost love, and, like his character in The Truman Show, been willing to leave everything behind in order to learn what life is about. Lately, he has enlisted the power of art in his quest for peace and truth. If you have not seen this astonishing, 6-minute documentary, I highly recommend it.

Here are some choice quotations from the documentary.

On Art as an Expression of the Inner Life

For me, one of his most moving pieces was the heart at the top of this post. In the documentary, he voices over it:

Six years ago, when I was trying to heal a broken heart, I decided, well, maybe I’ll paint.

When your heart is in love, you’re floating, weigtless. When you lose that love, you have to reenter the atmosphere. And it can get pretty rough. And you’re just bouncing off one molecule and onto the next, ripping through them at such a pace that they just ignite and explode, until you find another heart that’s doing the same thing, has landed and cooled, and then you start to float again.

Many aspects of the artist emerge in his or her work:

You can tell what I love by the color of the paintings. You can tell my inner life by the darkness in some of them. You can tell what I want from the brightness in some of them.

On Art’s Effect on the Artist

I don’t know what painting teaches me. I just know that it just frees me — free from the future, free from the past, free from regret, free from worry.

On What Art Communicates

You really don’t know what the sculpture or painting totally means. You think you do. Most of the time I start out with a plan and then, like a year later, I’ll realize the painting was telling me what I needed to know about myself a year before.

On What Art Means

You know, the bottom line with all of this, whether it’s performance, or it’s art, or sculpture, is … love. We want to show ourselves, and have that be accepted.

I love being alive, and the art is the evidence of that.

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