It's easy these days to become disassociated from the world around us, and those who live in it. We are diving deeper than ever into an augmented reality where others exist merely as an amalgam of posts and photos, and our physical senses and expressions are filtered through a series of swipes and keyboard presses. Try to fight it, when you can. (She says from behind her keyboard . . . trust me, the irony is not lost.)
Here's some artillery:
-Go outside. Pokemon counts, but don't forget to look around you.
-Leave your environment better than it was when you entered it. Small things count.
-Try to hold each other up. The night is long and full of terrors; be a light source.
-Actively combat self-consciousness. Be silly, be loud, make eye contact, sing along with the windows down, say hello. Because everyone is staring at their phones anyway.
-If something's not okay, either say something, or do what you need to to make it okay. You don't get to complain if nothing's being done.
-Fix something that's broken.
-Kiss your dog right on his/her perfect dog face.
-Be nice. It's not hard. And it will make your life easier as well.
EDIT: Here are some additions from the comments:
-Complete some Random Acts of Kindness. They are real and I'll tell you it's the best way to brighten up your day if it's a sour one. Not by receiving a RAC, but by giving one. Damn if that doesn't just make you feel awesome.
-Two is one and one is none. Be prepared.
- Learn first names...Your server wears a name tag for a reason. I can guarantee it makes them happy when you say thank you "Insert name".
Let me know what else you do to stay rooted, friends!
And because I'm already up on my soapbox, I'll add that hydration, sunscreen, seat belts, protective gear, proper first aid, and a bit of an attitude should be used liberally.
What does this have to do with art? Everything.
I make art because I want the world to be a better place. I want there to be more beautiful things for everyone to look at. I want there to be more topics of discussion to bring people together, and art delivers that. Art is for humans, and as such it is infused with human emotion, human opinion, human perception; from both the artist's and the audience's perspective. Art is a soul-made product whether it is tangible or not. So I invite you to interact with art: Go find a mural in your neighborhood and stop in front of it for once instead of walking past it. Think about who made it. Try to feel out their soul. Communicate with them in the same way that they were communicating with you when they were working there. When they made that thing, they stood exactly where you are standing. They looked at that wall from exactly as far away as you are looking at it now. They cocked their head to the side in contemplation, just as you may be doing right at this moment. Think about them. I can guarantee that they were thinking of you.
Here's a lovely music video that showcases the impact of taking a moment to feel out the perspectives of others. The artist is one of my favorite musicians, Imogen Heap. The song is written from the perspective of a river who absorbs all of the emotions from the people who stop to look out across it's surface as they process their own lives, and responds with it's own emotions in turn. Be the river. Be the artist. Be the piano. Be everything.
Here's the time lapse video for my finished painting, Rosewater and Gold. I shared some delicious little photos on my last blog post, but I try not to leak any pictures of the full composition until I know it's fully dry and complete. I'm happy with the tone of the final piece; there's been so much struggle and strife lately, it's been therapeutic to birth and sculpt something that is just quietly beautiful and warm. I see a lot of us facing life's struggles head-on right now, which is important; but I think it's also necessary to simultaneously embrace love and light and mutual happiness. I hope that this happy little painting will brighten your moment.
One of the neatest things about this piece is that it sparked some awesome collaboration from my lovely friend Monte - there are photos below. (Also, Make sure you go here and buy this stuff!). I think some goals for my next painting will be to open up the visual space a little bit more, continue to mix up unusual colors for myself, and not say "um" as much in my commentary. Baby steps.
It is probably necessary to note that at one point in this video I mention that this painting dried more slowly because I used watercolors to pigment the medium. This is a bit of a deceiving statement, because watercolors dry quite quickly when used as intended. In this case, I used many layers of acrylic medium that were pigmented with liquid watercolors and then mixed with more water, and that's why it took 3-4 days to dry. Sorry for any mix-up... I just didn't feel like editing the commentary. Thanks again for watching!
Feel free to comment below if you've got any questions or comments regarding my process, if you've got something you'd like to see out of my next painting, or if you would like to commission a piece!
Below are the digitally edited collaboration pieces I mentioned earlier. Aren't they dreamy?
I pretty rarely work in pinks, so I thought I'd start a project that would challenge me with a new palette. I'm still waiting on it to dry, so no full piece pictures yet . . . but here are a few teasers. There will be another time lapse video of this one when it's done!
Here's a quick little time lapse I made of the behind the scenes of the birth of a painting. Don't mind the mumbling, I just thought I'd toss in a few unscripted thoughts on what was going on. Feel free to add any questions or comments below!