Lots more thinking going on this week. Lots more making connections and developing ideas. The result of which is the following:
1. I need my art to serve a purpose beyond myself, and that purpose should be peace.
2. I see a need to teach others how to use art to find and reflect on themselves – and to stop seeing art work as a commodity made by a talented few, and instead focus on art making as a tool for exploration and discovery.
3. I will never be able to put 1 and 2 into practice unless I get over my excruciating shyness around new people and my incorrigible habit of judging everyone.
On the issue of peace, I don’t mean the peace-sign kind of peace. Or the Nobel kind of peace. Or the tie-dye shirt variety either. I am not narcissistic nor deluded enough to believe I could be a Martin Luther King Jr or a Kofi Annan. I don’t have their qualities of leadership, courage, persuasion etc. But I can work on a personal level with people. For whatever reason I have the ability to find satisfaction, meaning and purpose in the process of art-making, and I think I could help others to find these things. I have to be honest and say that my motivation is entirely selfish – I want to meet and find others who can and do mine their “soul”. Soul-mining is my drug of choice. I feel happy and connected and hopeful when soul-mining with others. My goal is not World Peace. It is finding these moments of connection.
When I was studying Eng. Lit. at university we were required to read Howard’s End by E. M. Forster. I had one of those soul-shifting moments when I read the famous line, “Only connect…” and understood it’s significance both to the story and to my own life.
Interestingly, I just re-read one of the passages relating to this theme in the book:
“Mature as he was, she might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the gray, sober against the fire.”
Sound like right-brain/left-brain unity to anyone else? But here’s the actual passage with the exhortation to “only connect…”:
“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.”
Obviously, in this passage, Forster is imploring us to connect opposing forces within ourselves. But in the book there are other lack-of-connections that he brings to our attention, especially the lack of connection between people, and the reluctance to be humble enough to allow what is “other” to touch us.
Wow. Too many words, not enough images.
Who wants to see where I went with the bubble drawings?
Here they are in progress…
And here are the final results, with 3 layers of drawings for each piece – obviously I still have to figure out how to frame them:
And here’s me starting to explore other possibilities for presenting the same idea, but this time 3 dimensionally. The “canoe” shaped part is made from gauze and stiffened by the application of a thin layer of epoxy resin. The bubbles are cut out individually from the vellum drawings and arranged inside the “canoe”. This is not a complete thought by any means. I will probably experiment with adding additional gauze layers:
The other elements of this piece, besides the gauze and the vellum, are the shadows. Right now, I don’t know what I want to do with them, but I like them and will try to manipulate them so that the 3D shapes and the 2D shadows will “collaborate”.
Incidentally, having just expounded on the virtues of connection, it struck me that my bubble-blowing antics could stand as a metaphor for connection. As you can see from the photos below, I started blowing bubbles next to each other so they create a “chain” of individual bubbles, all trying to retain their own shape and integrity, but nevertheless touching each other and dependent on each other – connected. At some point they begin to burst, one by one, and collapse into each other, leaving only a beautiful inky record of their once-fragile shell. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.