Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Art column--May 26, 2010

“I ain’t got time for no art”
That’s what the woman said to me a couple weeks ago when I asked her if she was going to check out the great Fine Arts Festival that was being held on Third Street, next to the fire station. A depressing string of conversations with other people that same day usually ended with a variant on what the first woman said. “I ain’t got time for no art.” And that is a shame.
What exactly is life about? Is it just getting up each day, slamming down a gallon of coffee before going off to work, then coming home at night too tired to do anything but sit in front of the tv and vegetate? Repeat the process the next day, and the day after that, ad infinitum?
For many people, sadly. that is indeed what life is about. In the ugliness that is the daily grind, there needs to be room for beauty, for pleasant distractions to make us think a little outside the box. That is what art is for, and that is what we all need to make room for in our lives. “No time for art?” No way.
What is art? Sure, it is, like what was admirably represented at the festival, paintings and sculpture. It also is photography, music, the written word, film, dance, even television at its best is art. Consider the finale of the series LOST, which aired this past week. If you were fortunate enough to have seen the show, and the finale, you saw television writing and production at its finest---thought-provoking, moving and powerful enough to have people still discussing it a week later.
The movies you watch and the music you listen to are art, sometimes. Unfortunately, as with anything else, a lot of it is just product, done to make a fast buck without concern for any artistic merits. It is the same with books and television, but if you dig a little deeper you will find some wonderfully creative people and things that will resonate for a long time. For every corporate creation there are some wonderfully talented and innovative people who are playing in clubs, coffeehouses and even just in their own living rooms, and who never get the recognition that they deserve because they don’t have a SONY or American Idol Inc. backing them.
Ever seen an art sale at a local motel or in a parking lot, out of the back of a truck? That stuff is usually just mass produced junk designed to fill a space on your wall because the dull colors match your drapes. Check out some estate sales and yard sales and you can find some real art there. Or stop at the next Fine Arts Festival you see advertised. You don’t have to buy anything, just take it all in and talk to the people who actually created it.
Or, you can do the very best thing of all: make your own art. Write a story, draw a picture, paint a scene, make up a song. Create something that makes other people happy.
Years ago I met a man who owned a painting that he spent a fortune for. I asked him why he would spend that kind of money for a painting and his answer said it all: “I like to look at it.”
No time for art? Rubbish, I say.

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