Thursday, February 25, 2010

Transformation and Healing

So I just finished up with an art show in Manhattan, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it. It was supposed to be a show about transformation and healing. And for the longest time I was having a hard time figuring out how the heck to show those things. I hemmed and hawed, I sighed and pushed it off, I waited for inspiration to zap me. And then I waited some more.

It was funny when it finally hit me. Transformation and healing- it’s just the work artists do every day! Maybe it’s repurposing something old. Maybe it’s creating by combining actual materials into something entirely new, or creating by combining inspirations into real ideas. And hopefully, if I do say so myself, we artists are in the business of healing people as a result.

I say this because I think it’s important that as an artist I remember that I’m not just in the business of aesthetics. I’m in the business of touching people through the visual (or through sound or words, depending on what sort of medium you use). I have some very frugal, no-frills family members (Don’t we all have a few in our families? -Because if anyone needs one, I’ve definitely got some extras in back…) I’m pretty sure some of them think that my love for aesthetics lies somewhere between a shallow waste of time and an unnecessary waste of money. Their frugality cannot get them past something that seems so wasteful. And I can see how it may seem that way to people who know there are those without food in the world. (For sure food comes before a nice lamp, so please don’t send any angry emails!)

Still, what I’m saying is, art is important. It isn’t frills. It is transformation and communication- often communication that can cause reflection, and eventually, if we’re lucky, perhaps a bit of healing. The truth is, aesthetics are extremely powerful in our daily lives. From the second we open our eyes in the morning, our surroundings help dictate our moods, our attitudes, and our energy levels. As an interior designer, I have the power to approach aesthetics every day as something shallow and wasteful, or to approach aesthetics as something transformative and healing. It’s important I recognize why I am focused on aesthetics and what purpose they have, so they don’t become something shallow. Somehow, though, this argument hasn’t helped me convince my husband that I need the $100 pair of cast iron storks in the antique store window downtown. Will someone please convince him?

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