These days it’s difficult to be human. We have to look good, smell good, be smart, sexy, drive a nice car and be nice to our mothers. I know that I can’t manage all of this and my guess is that no product or paycheck will help me to do so.
So what’s a person to do?
I’m not sure. But art can help. In this class I’ve talked a lot about paintings because I am trying to learn to paint and I find inspiration and irritation in the work of others. But, as I’ve said, art is everywhere, and it’s one of the best weapons against an increasingly anxious and superficial world.
This is because art is about being human. The artist’s particular obsessions may stop you – our famous “WTF” feeling – but then, if the art is good, it pulls you away from the light beer and Axe commercials, and into your own humanity.
Great music, novels, plays, paintings, sculptures, movies – all the arts – have this power. They make us aware of what is important, what is real in the world. Looking at art is one of the best ways to keep from being content with “versatile solutions for modern living.” Plus, it’s a lot of fun.
So go to museums, concerts, plays and movies, (not Saw XX), and read a few famous books (Google Top 100 Novels). Better yet, keep a sketchbook in your car, compose a song, work some clay, write a poem or short story. But I bet I’ve scared you away from painting.