Art: A Lost Art?
It’s not the world’s fault you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.
—German filmmaker Werner Herzog, to a young Italian fan who wrote him a letter complaining of the difficulties of being an independent filmmaker
I can’t agree with the part about stealing, but the rest is sound advice.
Contentment: A Job Perk
I’ve had long talks with good friends about what it means to be content and how we can achieve it. I recently read a blog post about someone’s “quarter-life crisis” (which happens to be highly relevant to my current age), the purpose of which was to remind fellow twenty-somethings that contentment is not a by-product of material success and that simplicity should be valued. I agree that simplicity is often an aspect of contentment, and that we should practice a healthy level of detachment from material life, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it.
It only took conversations with two marshmallowy art therapist friends and a lifetime of being “artsy-fartsy” to learn that the act of creating can help a person find contentment. Contentment, it seems to me, comes from fulfilling one’s purpose, and from what I have seen and experienced, a sense of fulfilled purpose can come from creating or selflessly serving others (or both).
Furthermore, contentment—which, it seems to me, is deep-seated and stable rather than fleeting—comes from doing either of these two things regularly. This is how transformation happens: by engaging in a purposeful project with lofty intentions over a half-decent length of time. The length of time will depend on the project, of course, but the length of time must allow the significance of the project to penetrate (our minds, our souls, our actions). We must keep at it, whatever it is, if we want to transform ourselves and the world.
A Final Word
There is hope, of course. There is hope for our brains (see that Newsweek article from part two again), and there is hope for our souls and characters (see that quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá again, also in part two).
I can’t finish a series about art and teachers without mentioning my own high school art teacher. He taught me for five years (back when Ontario still had a grade 13, or OAC—Ontario Academic Credit), and I’m grateful for every minute I spent in his art class. To this day I recall things I learned in his class, and being in that art room at OTHS is one of the clearest images of my high school career that I can conjure up. I won’t go on, for your sake, but I might get out my yearbook after this….
Whew! I haven’t written an essay in a while, and this series sure felt like one. I’d better quit now, not only because it’s way past bedtime, but because this topic is gigantic and out of control. I’m certain that I got a little lost in what constitutes art, what constitutes creativity, bla bla. Forgive me if I’ve confused you or made you late for an important dental appointment.
Nevertheless, I’d love to hear what you think about any of this.
Exeunt Chloë and Wakefulness
Check out the other posts in this series:
• Part One: In Memory of SQUIRT
• Part Two: The State of Art
• Part Three: Art is About You / Art is Not About You
• Part Four: (you are here)