Mark Sandman wrote: “I am like a mirror, I am nothing till you look at me.” Words for deep thought at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep.
Lets apply this to art. Does art have value if it is never appreciated? I suppose that is why we have museums of art. Art is also one the few things that can achieve the priceless status. However if a priceless painting is locked away behind 6 inches of steel and never to be seen, can we say still say it has value? Sure it has monetary value but art is not about money. If no one can ever see it or appreciate it, then what value does it have? Yes, it seems that Mark makes a valid point.
Most things inherently human are interactive in nature. They must be seen or heard in order for their value to become more apparent. (That is also why in the end, artists reluctantly part with their precious art. That and of course not wanting to be a literal starving artist.) The artist is only part of the equation. The audience is another. Both are needed for art to have value.
Original art is also like a mirror in one other aspect. Each time you peer into a mirror, you see something new and unique. You will never see the same image twice. That is why original art is so special. You own something unique. (Which is becoming increasingly rare in this world of artificial clones and cheap knock-offs.) More than 6.5 billion people cannot have what you have. Each piece is unique. Even more so with original oil paintings, as with time they also interact with the environment (light, humidity, temperature, dirt etc.) creating subtle and hopefully positive changes. There are almost countless variables in this graceful aging process.
That is why art really is priceless and one of the greatest values in our modern society. So the next time you peer into the mirror, take a moment to think about individuality, interactivity, originality and art. Stay original… its priceless.
Bob Geldof wrote in the song Room 19: “When I woke up I was freezing… I was stuck up on a shelf with the other guys in room 19. Tchaikovsky played the music, Pasternak wrote the poetry, Lenin never shut up talking, and every talk became a speech.”
The idea that all the brains of these great Russian thinkers and artists preserved in glass jars and on a shelf in room 19 waiting to be studied is an interesting one. It begets the question: What makes great thinkers, leaders and artists? Does it really have to do with the brain and intellect? Do these people really have superior brains? Perhaps it has less to do with the brain and more to do with the heart. (Although this view could be simply be a result of our diminished brainpower. But please read on…
From the earliest of man’s history, the heart has being used in a figurative sense referring to the inner man. “Among the Semites . . . all that was peculiar to man, in the category of feelings as well as intellect and will, was attributed to the heart. It is the sum total of the interior man as opposed to the flesh, which is the exterior and tangible man.”The Metaphorical Use of the Names of Parts of the Body in Hebrew and in Akkadian, by E. Dhorme, Paris, 1963, pp. 113, 114, 128 (in French).
For example, history tells us that Napoleon Bonaparte once ordered his own army to stand still while he rode ahead to face the opposing army of 6,000. He dismounted and walked up to the barrier of men and their guns. Their commander ordered them to fire, but in awe of the man standing before them, not one shot was fired. There is no question that Napoleon Bonaparte was a bold and courageous man, and whether for the good or bad he changed the course of human history.
Was he great because of his superior brainpower and intellect? No one can say for sure, but at least in this one instant we can say that what he did was just plain stupid. One single shot could have ended his return to power in France. We can say with great certainty however that he had heart. He had a purpose that he believed in with all of his heart. (To bring the Holy Roman Empire to it’s end. Which in fact did happen in 1806. Just in case you care.)
If we were to extend this investigation to other great men and women of history, we would most likely find that all the great thinkers and artists of all time, from Da Vinci, Einstein and Stephen Hawking (well at least he had the moral integrity to admit he was wrong), to Mozart, Liszt (there is a only a handful of people in the world that can play his original pieces, and yet he loved the subtle music of his friend Chopin) and Chopin, to Renoir, Monet, and Rembrandt, all had the same thing in common, they all had heart. (Some were probably a little loopy as well, that always helps.) They had a purpose that went far beyond intellect. Something so intangible as this can only be attributed to the heart. The sum total of the interior man. Stay original… have heart.