Love is NOT Blind
The 90-second attention span is a problem– for everyone from artists, to those seeking true love. Obsession should not be a building block of long standing relationships, but it is something we are forced to cultivate if we want to remain on other people’s radar. The screen, by virtue of its multiple hidden and obvious costs, is ephemeral. It burns bright, but it does eventually fade, shut down, fail and requires updates.
My day job as a farm manager, as well as a farmers market vendor in a major metropolitan area, has me feeling like a second responder in the wake of COVID-19. People eat three times a day and more in the first world. Things get very tense at the thought of losing access, even momentary, to basic nutrition… and toilet paper.
What about art? How do we keep this kind of sustenance on the forefront of 90-second attention spans? In a cascade of slippery, ever-popping bubbles, staying afloat emotionally as an artist, let alone financially, feels desperately impossible. My farmer friends and I are enjoying a bubble because pandemics remind people that food comes from farms– either that, or they did not want to stand in line at Costco.
I also live in a community of fellow artists (musicians, crafters, comics and writers). Most of us pause and dive deep when things hit. Sometimes that means we don’t come up for air until we have something profound to share. What’s that worth?
Yes, but pricelessness makes people nervous. It makes them flee to a more concrete measure of worth, or another distraction. Can’t find it on Amazon with 1000+ reviews, then maybe what you are attracted to really isn’t worth much? That thread of logic has deep roots for the average, practical consumer. If art is for everyone, then artists need to tap into the thought process of average people.
This has me answering the following questions about my art. Why do people need paintings of rabbits doing human things? Do they need pretty landscapes that match home decor more? Is my art less practical because of its many hidden layers that require deeper introspection?
As an Art Historian I was trained to treat art as a mystery. I uncovered clues about the work, the artist and the time period, but I also revealed what was hidden in myself. As humans we walk around gazing outward, but enacting from a center we can’t always observe. The reflective power of art helps us understand from where our actions come. I’ve charted patterns by tracing marks with my pencil and paintbrush over and over again. My paintings connect to a greater understanding. Bunny brings those mysteries closer to the surface. Because her world is ruled by my dreams and imagination, I am able to bypass the confinement of the REAL world. I work and walk toward what is possible, and away from what can’t be.
I want to make a book of paintings about Bunny to help others trace the patterns in their lives. With simple questions about what they see in the work, the paintings can reflect some hidden habit or an explanation for emotions that are difficult to bear. What also may be revealed are hidden strengths. The mirror art holds up for each individual shines light uniquely. No one sees the same truth. Our eyes may see the same colors and shapes, but the sensory map held within is connected to deep memories buried across a path that only one person traveled. We can never fully repeat the trajectory of any other being, but the gravity of basic human needs gives shape to most of our orbits. Hunger, Love, Sadness, Joy and Laughter are just a few of the essential needs that have shaped my path.
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