As I write this, many of us are having concerns about our health due to the Corona Virus pandemic. In connection with that are concerns about our leadership, election campaigns, and the economy. I recently attended a panel discussion about civility in partisan times. One of the major points was that throughout human history there has been conflict and worry, however our similarities often unify us more than our differences.
An example I thought of is when a natural disaster occurs. Our news outlets will cover it almost exclusively. Most often, what I have observed is the immediate response of just regular folks offering some assistance. Individuals, groups, even entire businesses will drop what they are doing for a moment and send care packages, aid, or truckloads of goods to help the wounded heal.
How does this observation tie into anything art related? The arts has a profound connection that is central to just about all of us. We all are individuals, navigating our way though our own lives. The diversity of options, choices and opinions create a vibrant and active society. The discourse is what keeps us evolving and growing our ideas about nearly everything. Sometimes those discourses become groups of thought or practice. This is good because our positions can be challenged or affirmed, relaxed or strengthened. The hope is that we learn to regard and respect each other in the end.
Different Styles, Different Strokes
Today, styles old and new are utilized and appropriated by artists to make all kinds of things. An idea takes shape based on each individual artist. Artists may identify themselves with a specific style or genre and work from there. There are contemporary pieces that are made most recently. Then there are historical works made some time ago. Artists will work in a style that meets most with what they want to say or offer.
The wonderful thing about art is the community it becomes. The phrase, “to each his own”, applies to creative tendencies of the artist as well as individual taste of the audience. This provides us choices to freely exchange ideas and contributions. Thank God we have the choices! This explains a little bit how the arts within a society is so important. The common thing for all of us is to share our different stories and ideas. We seem to want to relate to each other rather than divert from each other.
The Similarity Thread
As a traditionalist painter, I still enjoy and appreciate the work that is contemporary and continues to seek the uncharted areas of ideas. Ultimately, I chose the traditional approach to painting. It seems to naturally fit with how I express ideas and sentiments. Sometimes, I find the old ideas are in common with the new ideas found in contemporary art circles. Some of the ideas are the same but are simply approached differently. This is one commonality at least, in that we all have this diversity of thought!
Each time an artist gets creative, they are apprehending their individual character and putting an intangible idea into a tangible thing. Mostly, we gravitate to those ideas that are within a spirit of encouragement and contribution. Those are the ones that typically survive the longest.
Whether styles of art, helping in times of need, or debating on which course to follow, there seems to be a common thread. Fortunately, the surviving ideas are based primarily on mutual survival and support. It seems our love and respect for one another can override our witness to harm and disrespect. When those bad things occur, we tend to fight chaos to renew peace. We tend to share more than we give. It is comforting to know that each of us has a peculiar artistic tendency to create, innovate, share, care and give. Even if that is simply giving of yourself somehow.