I believe in art. This vessel is my mantra, my “Hare Krishna!” to sell flowers by and beat drums to in airports. Every expression of perspective- commentary emblazoned on canvas with a brush stroke, a cracked note from the itchy-fingered songwriter- poses a question. The question, I feel, is what gives us dignity that a spider, a mole, or a sparrow just can’t boast: that pride we have is the ability to ask “Why?” The response is birthed by art school tuitions and that hungry fire we stoke all our lives. My fire is burning those three letters into the eye of a camera, writing the red-eyed letters to myself in hopes of unearthing something worth regurgitating to an art magazine later.
Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” For my family, education and self-actualization was the expansive unknown. My mother gave birth to me at 21, my father the same age, and in no way were they ready for a screaming, fatty consumption factory of a daughter. My mother was on welfare by herself, but when she had me, she found a way to utilize blocks of government cheese that a college-aged mother should have gotten a degree just for hefting. While it can be argued that my parents’ negative decisions were exclusively their faults, it was in actuality the drugs and alcohol that governed the micro-happenings of my household. I consider them victims of fertility, honestly.
There’s a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow who constructed a pyramid of needs, having prioritized safety, security, protection, and freedom from economic disaster just above the fundamental need of survival. Directly above that on the hierarchy is love, belonging, and the need for closeness. My parents provided the first for me via the government, and are now, in their middle age, attaining the second for themselves-I am proud of them for this. Now that I have a foundation laid, they gave me the opportunity, by allowing me to live with my grandparents, to aspire to higher levels on this fulfillment scale. I am now free to believe in myself, to love, belong, and realize my potential. This is every human’s responsibility, but I will be human enough to admit that I look up to art to guide me in my first baby-steps to enlightenment. No human parent can walk you through this developmental milestone, and it’s the attainment of progress, not perfection that makes us so fallible, and so beautiful, as a species. Art, however, is faultless. It is the pioneer of the human spirit in its experimentation, completely flawless because it uses color, motion, focus, tone, texture, and light to manipulate the truth in mankind. These elements were created in nature, and cannot be tarnished by man- but the utilization of them, in combination with man’s spirit- is something transcendent of both nature and the science of emotion.
With art, the confession of past humans, as my parent, I can confidently say that I had a good childhood. My parents slept for days, but there was music to tuck me in, and there is music to awake me, now. Those last 2 levels of evolution on the “need pyramid” are what art will catalyze me to. Through light, time, and color I can proudly explain to those at my gallery opening that, “Good evening, sir, thanks for coming, and I am not my past.” I am so beyond it.