I believe I've been away too long again. But this time I have to get in before the deadline for Michelle's October Crusade. The Crusade is all about what you believe in and who you are as an artist. So I've thought about it off and on all month, and a few things stick with me. I didn't get around to creating anything to show it all, but I can tell what I believe in and what makes me make stuff.
I believe in aesthetics. I don't know anything about the whole philosophy of aesthetics, but what I mean is that I believe art should be attractive. Sure, express yourself, make a statement, whatever. Just make sure it looks good. I'm willing to make exceptions for realistic depictions of things that aren't pretty to begin with (spectacular zombie makeup, for example), but really, there's enough ugliness in the world. I believe in using our powers for improvement.
I believe in the power of art. Art in its many forms can be cathartic, uplifting, depressing, any number of emotional influences. I like it best when it puts a smile on my face, but any effect a piece of art has means it has an impact. As previously stated, I believe we can and should use this power to improve the world, even if it just means giving someone something pleasing for a few minutes on a bad day. Every little bit helps.
I believe in the power of little things. That thing I just said about giving someone something pleasing... it doesn't make life suck less overall, but it certainly adds to the awesome column. To put it better, in the words of The Doctor, "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant." This is something that I find difficult to keep in mind myself, but when I'm feeling grouchy about things, I try to remind myself of what I do have going for me. When depression is getting the better of me, it's not the big abstract things that make me feel better - it's the little tangible things like a cup of tea, snuggling with my husband, re-reading a favorite book, or working on my art that make me smile. Accumulating enough of those little things gets me through until I balance out again. I guess if anybody is going to believe in the power of little things, it should be a tiny, pocket-sized person like myself.
A couple of parting notes. In the same Doctor Who episode from which I pulled the previous quote, an art historian says the following about Vincent Van Gough, and it brought tears to my eyes because it said a lot about what I love about art:
"He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again."
And lastly, this Cowboy mouth song really speaks to me and says a lot about my beliefs as well. Take a listen, and see if you feel the same way.
P.S. If you've never listened to Cowboy Mouth, catch one of their shows when they're in town. They just might change your life.
Carrie, thanks for sliding in and sharing your perspective. I love hearing you put your thoughts into words. Love the Vincent remark - beautiful. I agree with you about art being uplifting and a chance to share goodness, however small. Even pocketsize :)
As you know, I share your feelings about art. It certainly gets me through the down times, both the creating and the viewing.
Hi Carrie, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you about the little things that make us smile in life... in reality, to me, they turn out to be the most important things, too!
Hi Carrie, great to meet you through the crusades! Nice interpretation, I love how you write...
Cowboy Mouth was also cool. I've never seen a drummer play standing up before...!
Your thoughts are quite powerful to read. It is really the small things -- little gems of beauty and joy -- that count in life. They are your treasures. Hang on to enough small things and you can sustain a big, bold life.
Great use of the Doctor Who quotes, btw. I think the episode featuring Vincent Van Gogh is simultaneously profound, funny, and poignant. It's one of my faves in that season.
I am actually still working on an artists' statement, even though it is beyond the initial Crusade deadline. I have been doing a lot of brainstorming about what I want for my creative self in the next year, and will post on my own blog as I have something tangible. There is a lot of depth to the question of why art is important to me.
I agree that there is enough ugliness in the world already. Thank you for adding beauty to the world we share.
You shared this so well. It is always a challenge to express what it means to be an artist. This is moving. Thank you for sharing.
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