Friday, April 27, 2012

Why Art?

I don't want to write about IXL, or Scrabble, or walking dogs, or fifth-grade camp, or the scary book I'm listening to.  What does that leave me with? 

I want to talk about art.  Why art, you might ask?

I'm not sure. 

I need art.  For some reason, I've come to a place in my life where I need art to be happy.  Comicon made me happy for a few days because of all the artists there, doing their work out in the open.  Hadn't they listened to their mothers asking them, "And just how are you going to earn a living as an artist?"  Oh thank God for the mothers who didn't say that to their children.

What value is art to our society?  I can't even answer that question for myself, yet I get to a point, like this one, and I know I need it. I need it badly.

The other day, Nick came home with a cartoon he'd drawn.  It was only a cartoon, yet it made me happy.  I should be able to put this into words.  Oh, I don't look forward to the day when Nick comes home and says he's reserved a booth at Comicon and hopes he can make his money back.  I want him to be able to afford a reliable car and feed his wife and child when it comes to that.  Yet, I want him to be happy as well, not sacrificing his freedom and creativity to the corporate machine.  Can you have both?  I don't know. 

I don't have to worry about that too much yet because he's only eleven after all.  Still, he came home with a permission slip to take a test for advance placement in math and the sheet of paper delineated his entire course of math throughout high school.  Oh man.  It just makes me tired, all that grappling for position, to get into the right college, to get a paying summer job, to get the 'real' job.  Do I really have to worry about that in grade school?  Crap, his preschool teacher would have had me worrying about it when he was four if I'd let her. And I did let her, for a while, until sanity took over.

Why art?  I need play time.  Nick needs play time.  For me, play time involves books, art, and being outside.  I've had plenty of time outside lately, walking the dog, and I'm winnowing down the stacks of unread books on my bookshelves and bringing home more books from the library.  But I haven't had much art lately.  I've stopped even seeing the Ansel Adams print of half-dome in Yosemite that's hung in my living room.  I barely notice the Andrew Wyeth print of the white dog on the bed in our bedroom, 'Master Bedroom.'  I love that print.  I'm not getting a lot of new input when it comes to art.  I'd like to have a ready answer for anyone who asks why I need it, but I just know I do. 

Since Nick's tree-nut allergy is dangerous enough, we don't keep nuts in our house.  Occasionally, if I'm not going to see Nick for a few hours, I'll order a salad with almonds or walnuts in it.  Whole Foods has an amazing salad that has cranberries, walnuts, bleu cheese, and balsamic vinegar dressing.  Sure, I used to like eating nuts, but now, I get a deep craving for them after a time.  There is some ingredient in nuts that my body needs, desperately.  It's like that with art for me too.  I can go for a long time without feeding myself, but the craving builds and suddenly, I realize that I'm absolutely wilting without this form of nutrition.

I am an under-achiever when it comes to art, but I love looking at it, touching it if that's allowed, finding it in unusual places. Have you ever been to Gasworks Park in Seattle? That place, though it was originally a 'gasification' plant, is full of art!  Still, I keep trying, drawing portraits, carving wood, piecing quilts, taking awful photos.

I want to carve a walking stick.  We had a lot of trees come down in our yard during the ice storm back in the winter.  A half a dozen walking sticks lean against Nick' play fort.  I want the time to sit and carve curlicues and labyrinthine patterns into a stick.  It's beautiful in my head.  They always are.  My drawings are more beautiful in my head too.  My photos are mostly pathetic.
I used to know a guy named Stewart who would say something absolutely ridiculous over dinner and after some silence, would announce, "Well, it was funny in my head."  I miss Stewart.  I lost touch with him when I moved west.  Stewart was a good guy and a genius at his job, putting music to the plays of his favorite baseball team, the Yankees.  It was absolute poetry.  Art.

There I go again. It always made me happy to know that Stewart made a living playing with music and clips of amazing baseball plays. 

I still can't tell you why I need art.  I wish I could.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment