On Monday my boyfriend and I went on a day trip to Victoria, BC. This trip was very much needed as I have not had a genuine day off in I don’t know how long. I spent the entire day having fun. No work allowed… except on the 4 hour commute either direction, but even then I mostly just chatted with Greg. It was so nice, and I feel as though the trip revitalized and prepared me for the craziness that is about to become my life as school picks up.
Although I spent the day with Greg and his cousin, I did have an opportunity to go on what I’m going to count as an artist’s date. We went to the Royal BC Museum and checked out a special exhibit of wildlife photography. It was a display of the results of the 2012 world’s leading nature photography competition organized by the U.K. Natural History Museum and it was absolutely amazing!!! The photos on display were chosen from 48,000 entries across the globe.
We split up for an hour or so and perused this exhibit alone (which is why I’m counting it as an artist’s date), and this definitely ended up being one of the highlights of my trip.
Let me just repeat that number 48,000 entries, of which only 100 were on display. Wow! Can you imagine being the artist that was selected? Below each photograph there was a description about what the artist was trying to capture with the shot, and it was really inspiring to read about the creativity, thought, and care that went into making each shot what it was. These artist’s commit to taking hundreds of shots a day. All the while looking for that special one that has that extra undefinable “something.” I think that there is a little bit of magic beneath each of these chosen photographs, because they represent the bi-product of an artist becoming in-tune with their authentic selves, letting go, and allowing for divine intervention to align all the stars just as their camera clicks. In the descriptions below, many of the artist’s spoke of luck, but (after reading “The Artist’s Way”) I am more inclined to think about it as something bigger and more divine.
“There is a divine plan of goodness for me” – that is the affirmation that I have posted on my desk and that I read every day as I write my morning pages. I only hope that the stars will align for me just as they did for the selected photographers.
The exhibit was split into sections, 3 of these sections were done by CHILDREN. The photos were incredible, but one (in the ages 11-14 category – yes, you read this right) particularly spoke to me. The name of the photograph was “Blood Donation” and it was take by a young boy named Joshua Birch. In the description, it said that Joshua had been trying to take pictures of dragon flies but had been having a little bit of trouble. He decided to switch subjects, and turned to the many mosquitoes that were flying around. The picture was a close up of a mosquito with it’s mouth thingy plunged deep into an arm (which I can only presume is Joshua’s), with it’s transparent stomach half full of blood. Disgusting? Yes, but at the same time remarkable. Why? Because this boy believed in his art so much that he was willing to be bit by mosquitoes who knows how many times in order to capture that one special picture. That’s dedication, and I left that section of the gallery with a smile on my face, and many thoughts running through my head.
I think that art and the artist are thought as frivolous to some. The profession of the artist isn’t viewed as being important. It is often the first thing cut in schools, and in BC right now our government is refusing to give us the tax credit we need to bring films to our province for that exact reason. Art isn’t important. Art isn’t necessary. That seems to be the message, and I hate it!!
Art teaches us about ourselves. It is the responsibility of the artist to teach empathy, and it is through art that we realize that no matter what our differences we are all the same. Kazuo Ishiguro’s book “Never Let me Go” (SPOILER ALERT) follows the life of 3 clones as they struggle to understand their identities. They are in school with others just like them, and are made to create art so that their instructor’s can show the outside world that they have souls.
And you can come back. I think that’s the purpose of art in our real lives as well. We are othered in so many ways, and art is one of the only things that brings us all together. I’m talking about all forms of art: writing, painting, acting, sculpture, fashion. Even if you do not consider yourself an “artist” you still express yourself with your clothes, your hair, your make-up, etc. You’re still using the art created by others to express your individuality. The artist recognizes that he or she has a voice, and through their art they assert that despite their fears, and despite their self-doubts, they are going to share their voice with the world. Why? Because they have something to say. We all have something to say.
Maybe art isn’t “necessary” but goddamit it’s important.