Sunday, August 10, 2008

More on art ...

... I was watching Margaret Cho, and she said something that made my brain go, "aroo?" It woke something that's been tickling my brain for the last few months/years, and here's my start. Am I on the right path?

This, along with my last post, is a very rough draft, almost stream of conscious. I think what I'm trying to say is that just by listening, hearing, even being a passive observer, we all contribute. And that if we all just become a teensy bit more aware of what each person has to offer (even if we don't agree with it), our daily lives will become that much more beautiful. Hmmm. Yeah. I think that's where I'm headed with this.

What is art?

Is it the snap of a shutter? The brush of oil on a canvas? The turn of a phrase? The pitch in a voice? The note on a scale? The line of a leg?

Right now I'm watching Margaret Cho's "Revolution" and she said something to the effect of: "The function of art is to comment on culture." I emphatically agree, but would have to add to this: yes, one part of it is to comment on culture, and some other (not all encompassing parts) are to make you think and to make you feel.

Art begets Art.

How do YOU choose to comment on culture? Do you consider yourself an artist?

We are all artists, deep down inside, down to the core of our being. Each and EVERY ONE of us is an artist.

We live.

We breathe.

We experience.

Art is "us": it's how we tap into our inner beings and it is how we show ourselves, how we show our views, how we show our souls, how we show our opinions. It is how we reflect "us" back to the world. When we do that, when we hold up that mirror or even a two-way glass, we are artists.

"But what about someone like Limbaugh? He can definitely turn a phrase, but does that make him an artist?"

Yes. Yes it does and yes he is.

Now, before you get your panties in a twist, hear me out.

When someone like Rush Limbaugh says something like "dunderheaded alarmists and prophets of doom", regarding environmentalists, he is spurring art. A statement like that will make you think, and it spurs you to learn. It spurs people to take photographs like this

Is that photograph NOT art? Is it not evocative? I cannot say what the photographers mindset was when she snapped this photo: if it was just something akin to, "wow, look at the structure, the colour, the composition; or if it was something more along the lines of, "oh, we're just dunderheads are we? Well look at THIS Mr. Limbaugh! Gore 4EVAR!"

This image is art to me. It woke something inside of me, which I'm still trying to verbalize. What does it say to you? What was this artist thinking, or trying to convey? If you do not "see" what he was trying to "say", is it still art?

Art IS a comment on culture. It is also a comment on our current world situations. There are certain songs, dances, paintings, and photographs, which will evoke different meanings in different people. But there are some forms of media that start out as journalism, and then turn into art - it's a cultural view.

I didn't know Eddie Adams history at the time of this initial writing. But... even if the intent of this photo was to show the atrocities of war, if it just started out as visually showing facts, it morphed into art. Heart wrenching, and yes, disgusting, but art nonetheless. Why?

Look at the photo again. LOOK at it. Strip away what you know of the history of the time. Just ... please, just ... look. Just think. Just feel.

Did it stir anything inside of you? Yes? Then it is art.


Art is education. When you view, hear, or feel something, and it makes you think ... and then research .... it is art.

Art can be selfish (acting, singing, performing) in that we *need* that immediate feedback, that instant applause, to continue to light our fire.

For others, art is therapy: we HAVE to get these images, these words, these movements, these notes ... we just have to get them OUT, out of our brain so that we can come back to some semblance of sanity and stop the images, stop the words, stop the movements, stop the music in our heads just so we can sleep. And function.

Art is showing others the world as you see it, and inviting them into your space ... and hoping that we can all find a common thread so that we can meet in understanding on that common ground.

Why is it that when someone is considered an artist, they are typically viewed through the filter of some sort of addiction? All of the "great" artists were fucked up in some way, and sought release through various behaviours, chemicals, intoxicants. Is it because "art" drove them, or that society at large just didn't hear them? Painters, writers, singers, dancers, comedians - most of the "famous" ones were dependent on something. Was/is it because of society? Or was/is it because they doubted themselves, and only through inebriation, by allowing them to "get outside" of themselves, were they able to tell their truth?

Art, as viewed by most of society at large, is seen as something "frou-frou", as "classist". It's narrowly defined as something only the Imrpressionists did, or "weird stuff" that's seen in art galleries (Pollack anyone?) But actually ... art is SO broad, and SO all encompassing. Each of us lives and breathes art. I create art, you create art, they create art ... even by being an observer we pay the piper of art.

Art is the vehicle of being heard, of being understood. And isn't that what drives most of us - to be heard?

Yes. We are ALL artists.

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