My friend Kyle collects religious art. For the last five years he has been asking my opinion about the art he collects, on Facebook Messenger.
I'm brutal. He loves it.
"What is it with this derivative s**t, Kyle?" I demand, when he produces yet another Van Gogh knockoff. "This person has mimicked Van Gogh's brushwork with plodding competence, but the unmediated experience of BEING VAN GOGH is lacking."
"An artist who experiences something of Van Gogh consciousness, today, will paint NOTHING LIKE Van Gogh."
Kyle threatens to quote me in his dissertation, and I tell him to stop flattering me, because I am too vain already.
After walking away from the art life, a decade ago, I've thought a lot about why art mattered so much that I'd throw away financial and social security for it. And whether anything matters that much to me now.
My conclusion: Art is an experience that makes us feel MORE ALIVE. Art experience brings us vividly into the present. There are windows of time when just existing, and doing the mundane, quixotic things we do, feels fraught with enduring significance.
And don't we all want to feel like that?
Why don't we?
I think we can. And bringing our creative fire into the most mundane aspects of our lives can help.
The photo above? A magic wand, created for my daughter to attend the Renaissance Faire as a wizard, made with stuff we had lying around.
She left it at the Faire by accident.
It doesn't matter. The magic was in the making. ...