Since the recent developments in the political climate, I’ve found myself reducing my social network use. Not at all surprising, because I think most of us have since all the arguments are circular, hateful, and certainly overdone. If you haven’t I give you props, but I find myself worn out and tired from it.
Naturally my focus has gone from Facebook to YouTube to stream things. While I began with just streaming comedic rhetoric and funny videos, I found myself searching much more interesting content, once I had my fill of the silly and humorous to help heal my soul. I started looking into documentaries a bit more. Ones on art, to be more specific, because in my desire for therapeutic release, I become more creative, and that has caused me to want to reach out to other creative communities.
I started with a three part series by BBC called The Story of Women and Art which was a well done documentary about the artistic mistresses of the earlier centuries, and their beautiful and inspiring work. Next, I found another great BBC documentary called Ugly Beauty which spoke on Modern Art and seeking beauty in the hideous and seemingly meaningless work of modern artists. Both were inspiring pieces, but one specific things that spoke to me, was an interview in Ugly Beauty with none other than Yoko Ohno.
My artistic worldview was always shaped by my Christian worldview. Having gone to a Christian school and learned design within the context of Christianity, I can say sometimes I felt at peace and others I felt far too sheltered. Yoko was a person I had often heard spoken of in a negative way. Her work was often considered “inappropriate” or “crazy” and usually followed with some kind of commentary about how she ruined John Lennon’s music since her influence in his life. While I have never been a huge fan of John Lennon (though appreciated some of his work), I dismissed her as an artist subconsciously because of these comments and a lack of interest at the time. Yet, it was in this interview that I heard her speak (at the time of filming she was in her 70s) and what she said really inspired me, because it made sense and resonated with me.
Yoko’s philosophy on art is that art, when it is created, makes a vibration…and that vibration is a peaceful vibration that moves into the world promoting that sense of peace. While that sounds very new age and yes to some, crazy, I completely understood what she meant. I myself, while creating a pice of jewelry, art, or even a functional design, have found that peaceful center she spoke of. I felt that overwhelming sense of calm and even a pecaful isolation in the work I created. She spoke even more so on how others value the work and how the work holds value without the perceptions of others. While society does put a value on the work of a person, she believed that the work holds its own value by existing, simply because it gives off this peaceful vibration for existing.
As I think of it now, I disagree that the work gives off a peaceful vibration by its existence. I think the process of creating the work is what gives the value and sends this vibration into the world, because it is instigated by the artist. The artist is the one who has experienced the work in every level. In the conceptual phase. In the creation. In the display. The artist has come and given this piece to the world, and because of that the artist is the one who places or removes value from the work. The artist can also choose (both consciously and subconsciously) to send out the vibration the work gives. Protest art as a good example of shocking or even hateful vibrations, as we see it becoming more and more prominent in the political climate. Positive, negative, and even neutral vibrations or any combination of are all possibilities that the work can present, and it is all motivated by the artist.
Now I want to make more art.