There are three artistic elements of our existence that must be exercised regularly during our lives: Body, Mind, and Soul.
The body is primary in the physical existence that we know as life. The body, a marvel of biological engineering, contains everything that makes us, us. Our genetic DNA and our conscious mind, and even our bound spiritual soul. Now, there are some people who will argue that there is no proof of existence of a soul, therefore humanity should only concern ourselves with betterment of our body and mind. I disagree. Why? Because, the soul creates art.
What is Art?
Art is anything created in life that is not essential for the continuation of life. That is to say, the human body needs a regular intake of food, which is converted into energy, in order to survive. But, rather than eat a house cat as food – you know – the skin, bones, and eyeballs – humans have realized that presentation makes food appealing to eat. We associate the way food looks with the way food will taste, and if a food looks good, then the food is more likely to taste good. If you’re going to eat a house cat – you better make it look like something other than a house cat. We have since developed a sense that we shouldn’t eat our family pet companions.
You’re Eating That?
Now, consider Goose liver pate as another example. Pate is considered a delicacy by some and is highly sought after. But then again, so are rare truffles which are used as a seasoning or garnish. Let’s be honest. Goose liver pate looks like baby shit and truffles not only looks like, but tastes like, dirt. So, why then do we claim these items to be delicious and why are they highly desirable when they in fact are gross?
You’re Eating Art!
Given that my definition of art is anything created in life that is unnecessary for life itself to exist, then I can say that goose liver pate and truffles are a form of art. They are used as a creative tool in chef’s bag of trickery to make you think that you’re eating something good. In fact, you are eating something that looks and tastes like shit or dirt. You’ve been the victim of a con job. Someone has raised your confidence to the point that you believe what you’ve been told, despite the truth, And you will argue that goose liver pate and truffles are good.
But, You’re Eating Shit!
Does this mean that all art is a lie? In a way, yes – all art is a lie. Why do I say that? Think of your favorite piece of art and consider that it involves one of the five senses of the human body:. Hearing, Sight, Touch, Taste, or Smell. I’ve already written about food – so let’s consider something other than taste or smell.
Painting is a Lie!
On your next visit to an art gallery, pick out the most realistic painting section from a distance. Decide which painting is the most realistic in terms of color value, shadow and light. After you make your decision, approach the painting in question so close that you can see the brush strokes.
It Looks Like Shit!
Upon close inspection, you’ll notice that the painting that looks most realistic at a distance is very muddied, with odd brush strokes and color values when you’re close enough. Looking at this distance, you will think it’s not the same painting and that it doesn’t look realistic at all. This is a metaphor for life, and why art imitates life.
Art is Artistic!
One of the reasons why I’ve now embarked upon a journey of artistic discovery is because the perspective of art helps us understand the vulgarities of life. The worst circumstances in life brings out the best that life has to offer, much like a realistic painting. The most blessed people in life bring other people up with their perspective. They help us focus on what is good, what is noble, what is virtuous, and what is real.
Art is Real!
It is a truth of all human existence that our life will eventually end in death. We don’t like to admit or talk about the subject, because it reminds us of our own lost loved ones. We have but a short time to experience life. We want to pass on what we learn to those who remain. We can say with surety that the best of us, regardless of circumstance, faces the worst of life with grace, humility, humor, and a sense of optimism.
Art is Life!
The goal of my sketchbook journal project, therefore, is to encapsulate life as art with these attributes. To capture the meaning of life. I want others to know that we should hold close that which is true, praiseworthy, pure, noble, and excellent. Life isn’t worthless or without value – even when in the deepest valley – you only have to look up and walk out of the darkness. And that’s okay.