This I Believe

Melissa - Salinas, California
Entered on October 17, 2007

This I believe ….

I believe that Art is a kind of sustenance, not a luxury or a decoration.

I believe in art’s nimble purpose in life, that art sends oxygen to the brain the way running up a hill or laughter can.

I believe art energizes the possibilities, provides insights. Connects the dots.

Stirs the soul.

Art can be extravagant and monumental or as humble as a collection of moments noticed – on purpose – moments possibly made richer by a visual encounter, a certain snag of wonderment and attentiveness.

Why is this a good and necessary thing for people and cultures of the world?

Why teach art? Why preach it? Why beseech that it be part of our education, our civic and private lives?

The fact that art usually has an afterlife as some object or surface that stands still long enough to study has made it extremely valuable as a body of core knowledge and skill.

Art is a storytelling implement like an organic sponge that feeds and digests context and filters it through the artist condenser.

To study the outputs of various moments and peoples in the history of civilization, and to keep on looking and looking at it, can make me dizzy with amazement and admiration. Such study decompresses layers of historical consciousness and overlapping life stories. Whether it’s a Leonardo, or a YouTube clip, art still holds valuable deposits of the time period.

To understand art, is to know CONTEXT – meaning with the stories. This could be helpful at a dinner table, a court of law or a quantam physics lab.

Art is only a masterpiece by accumulation of appreciation. Before that, art is a practice like making bread. A discipline that requires unpacking the meaning of things. Letting the dough sit and rise. Exposing and stretching the necessary bits of soul.

Art is not just finished objects or framed things. Art is process. The right amount of spice in the soup.

I believe that the discipline of art can be applied to a great variety of things. Skills needed for our species to thrive and survive and perspire over ideas. Art training teaches us to look longer and wider and deeper and to acknowledge several ways of looking. This could help you design a bridge or invent a new shoe sole. Or enable you to fix the doorknob without going to the hardware store. You may solve a problem by understanding its opposite.

Our human natures crave a combination of routine and the unique moment. The desire to see something new makes brain synapses. When striving to create, people become even more elastic and fantastic. Art could help you to see what another person means.

I believe art provides, like no other discipline quite can, access to another person’s Point of View – the place where they are coming from, the shoes they fell into. The receiver stretching to think outside of self or machine.

To draw is to see. To reflect on something slows it down slightly. To acknowledge fully the reflection of light off an apple is to be able to draw it.

I believe that Art is a necessary and potent messenger of emotional material often where words fail.

I believe that the world could use more of that right now and always.

Why is it that in America we love art after it has already made some place a nicer place, but we don’t often nurture it in our civic life?

Is art just inevitable? Should we not bother to cultivate it, does Art happen like bumper stickers happen?

It can be very inconvenient to be creative in our culture – so mass-produced and media-induced, all cellular and digital-like in caffeinated cubicles are we.

But creativity is the last frontier of the brain folks. Cre a tiv ity. Everything else really is being done by machines, right under your feet!

Therefore, I believe that art should be encouraged and woven into daily lives. That art is vital for human pedestrians and culture seekers alike. Art is a form of good nutrition and circulatory system for a community. It helps people to air and freshen their brains. It helps mitigate the tedium of daily living, the long haul. Go on a walk for lunch. Art helps humans acknowledge their environs and emotional truths, thereby encouraging their stewardship.

For me, Art is the seat of my brain. The place where my eggs hatch. Simply what my being is best suited for. I see my job as a collector and connector of information, a transmitter from and to the surround. I am an employee of the spirit of focused wonderment.

Art can be activated by the sound of frogs, or noting a tree branch following the contour of a hill. Or art may require engineering and cranes. Books and maps. But whether making or receiving art, there’s a tuning in that is essential.

At the heart of my art, what really gets my ball rolling, is being moved by what’s already there – seeing some odd thing in the world and registering it deeply. The dusty deer trophy at the gas station wearing sunglasses. Or the silhouettes of twenty three homemade mailboxes all standing together. Both seen in nature and as the result of culture, there are images that blow my socks off with their complete complex beauty.

This public artist defines her mission in the department of Homeland Inspiration to further the cause of Art and to seek out and eke out its integration into the everyday lives of others.

Whether as a way of living in the world or of leaving some evidence of grappling with your time here – I believe art can energize your possibilities, provide insights. Connect your dots. Stir your soul.

Go ahead, pick up a pencil or go for a walk and have some art in your life today!