Xx: X Factor
That Special Something When All Else Is Equal
For “X,” I’d initially planned to say “X Marks the Spot” and tell you that daily practice constantly corrects your course so you’re ever-aiming toward your greater and greater creative potential.
I still think that’s true.
However, I’ve become fascinated by the idea of an X factor, that mysterious quality someone has that makes their work more evocative and captivating than other work, when all else is equal (like skill and medium, etc.).
Some people have charisma, that personality that can attract and charm nearly anyone, but then there’s the X factor, some intangible element in the creative work that makes it so obviously art, whether the artist appear disheveled and crusty or polished and professional.
However you define the X factor, I believe it grows from daily creative practice. I think people who live and breathe their craft invite the X factor in, make fertile ground for it, and without their even knowing it, let it add depth and power to their work.
What other explanation can there be? Do you recall work you’ve seen that left you spellbound? What gave it that X factor? I don’t think the artist has much control over the X factor, but I don’t think the quality is arbitrary either. Where does it come from? What makes some work so substantially amazing?