Under a big tent, sitting on the edge of a stage on the Sunday afternoon of Rootwire, I participated in a panel discussion of artists. Panel is a loose term. About a dozen of us – some of whom spoke, some who didn’t – sat on the edge of a stage fielding various questions in our various manners.
Michael Garfield moderated. He had on his nifty Google Glasses. At one point I was starting to get a bit bored and there’s all these people watching us and I couldn’t just get up and leave so he offered them to me to wear. What a trip! There’s a screen! You can see it! Interact with it! This must be the future! It did take a moment to get it but goddamn! It’s for real and super cool and utterly distracting. I tilted my head back and forth in weird directions, watched the little screen and tried to focus on other things, screwed up the recording stuff, got back on track, and eventually gave them back because I think I was completely not paying attention anymore.
At one point tho, before or after the glasses I’m not sure but I know I wasn’t wearing them, someone asked (to the group):
“It’s nice that you make this art but what are you really doing? People talk about changing the world, about making a difference… how does this help the mother on welfare, or this or that… What difference do you think you are really making?”
Truth be told: I ponder this question all the time. I think about it while I’m driving around running errands and then going home and back to painting. What the hell am I doing anyways?
And here’s what I’ve come up with…
First and foremost – I paint because I love to paint. Period. It is what I love to do – it brings me great joy, this mode of expression that I’ve found, and I’m stoked to do it. So, regardless of how it might or might not be changing the world or whatever, I do it because I love it. When I wake up in the morning, I know that is my path. And if I’m at least one person in the world who is doing what they love, then that alone, I think, is a good thing just by it’s very nature.
So there’s that.
But then I go share it – afterall, I can make all the art I want but it’s really nice to share that dialogue with others – engaging them in their minds, hearts, sprits… having the reflection… To take that vision that I pulled from some deep place within myself and watch it converse with that deep place – that wordless formless space – in others is magical. And for others: to see that form has been given to this mystical experience – color and movement as well – it seems to bring people joy. It seems to make them happy and open something up in them.
There’s not a lot of imagery in our world that does that. Advertising and TVs and all this stuff: it’s just vying for our dollars more than anything else. But it seems sometimes that this thing people call Visionary Art is unique in it’s expression of the mystical experience. But that is another discussion…
So I make art and it touches something in people – it tickles a sense… See, the artwork I create comes from living life a certain way: freely, openly, lovingly, with compassion, with gusto, with joy, with health, with happiness – and learning to do so more fully, on all accounts. So I hope to stir in people a bit of that and inspire others towards a happier and healthier life.
But it’s a mostly insular world that this art is shown in – galleries, festivals, events – things that seem to stay within cloistered social circles. We welcome any and all… but there’s only a few who make it.
Those few who do tho – they have jobs they go back to, worlds they exist in that touch upon all the other icebergs of our society. They plug into all sorts of spots in society. They are social workers, cashiers, teachers, laborers, business owners, all sorts of things… And if they can take a bit of that experience back with them – that sense of openness, health, happiness, joy – if it plants a little seed, if it’s a new synaptic pathway and leads towards being a bit more loving – whatever it is that they might have felt in my work – and they take that and share it with others however subconsciously – the people they interact with, customers, clients, co-workers, students, mothers, fathers – then I think that the art I make does have an effect, however subtle.
It’s one more pass of the proverbial bird over the proverbial mountain with that proverbial silk scarf… and the scarf wears down the mountain ever so slowly… ever so slowly…
Most importantly – my work comes from a place where there is a deep sense of freedom, of openness, of love – and it comes from a place of doing what I love – and I hope that that sense echoes through the brushstrokes. I hope that it reaches others. I hope so much that it inspires others to consider: how can I be more free, more open, more loving… and how can I do more of what I love?
Because, as always, in the end – that’s what it’s about. The love. it’s just love… just love. That’s what I hope to inspire. Take it home with you. Take it into the world with you. Share it. Love – it’s endless. You will always have enough. The more you give, the more you will have to give.
And I hope that answers that question.
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