Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Fall from Grace

Thinking about ideas in the Limits to Growth.. the authors were talking about the two revolutions: the agrarian where we stopped being hunter gatherers and became farmers and the industrial where most people work in or for factories. And now we need a sustainability revolution... 

The trouble is that the Fall from the Garden of Eden was the agrarian revolution - we never wanted to stop living in the Garden of Eden as hunter gatherers - the only reason we did so was because of population pressures. Just as we look at the more technologically simple time of our youth with nostalgia so we regard the past as a golden age. When we despise those living in poorer, simpler circumstances.... is it jealousy? Are we really tough on the aboriginals because they had so recently what we have lost long ago. Is this why we destroy them with all the forbidden fruit that modern man can throw?

But maybe we need to find a better way - to recover that which was lost and to enhance our relationship with the earth. Can technology do that too?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Leaving the Day Job

Every artist faces the decision at some time as to whether or not to leave the day job and pursue their art full time. We can end up fairly poor if we do, but it does give us the time to improve our skills and fashion our philosophies. And again some make a quiet living with commission work, or well subscribed exhibitions.

When I first announced my intentions in that direction my then husband said -well what's your business plan? - Business plan? You make stuff and you sell it! The main difference between selling art and selling anything else is that market research isn't a preliminary part of the game – we are out to express something that we believe is important – we don't go researching what people want to buy unless we are then going to comment on that, we don't just supply willy nilly what people already think they want.

The being poor bit is hard to handle - makes relationships and family life tough – but we eventually sort out a modest income stream and life goes on - So should we really take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to contemplate a life devoted to the arts? It doesn't sound very real – and in fact when you think of it, this is a call to moderation not to extremes – the words could have been destitution, celibacy and subservience – but they are not - they moderate our obsession with money, sex and power – to focus our attention on what is really important – on sufficient food, love and imagination.

The artist does have a place in the world – not in the ivory tower. But the very diversity of art defies definition – some get their message across by shocking people, others by making one think, some make us laugh, some find beauty in the commonplace, others rage against the thoughtless – all of us have turned the unique vision of an individual into a philosophic statement - the belief that without dreams our bread is tasteless.