For art to be part of our life we must live with it. In a way, things like museums and Lincoln Center kill art and music. Art is not for particular people but should be in everything you do – in cooking, and, God knows, in the bread on the table, in the way everything is done.
-attributed to American architect Benjamin C. Thompson
taken from “In the Land of Temple Caves” by Frederick Turner. Counterpoint, 2004
The first time I read this quote, it was if I turned and looked at life from a slightly different angle, but one that made everything come into focus. The quote was written in regards to the fact that the French know how to live. Their food, music, art…their lives are all about art. I have seen it in person and I have felt it upon occasion but it is more difficult to access in this country. At least it is for me.
I have tried to make choices in my life (and I am thankful to have the ability to make choices) that are based upon bringing harmony into my world. My studio, my house, my property are all set up to be pleasing to me and to make everyday experiences like eating breakfast or making a piece of art even more amazing. Of course sometimes I have made a choice that doesn’t work (I wince when I think of some of the wall colors I chose when I was in my 20’s.) But I learn from those mistakes, and sometimes it really does help to know what doesn’t work before you find out what does. It’s also true that a 30 year-old’s vision of art is quite different than a 50 year-old’s and I’m willing to bet that my ideas will change again by the time I’m 70. But underneath it all the goal is harmony, an environment that says “There, now, doesn’t that bowl of cereal taste a little better?”
I have also spent time trying to figure out what is the best way to install art work so that it can be part of other people’s life. Right now, with my big pieces, I have them scattered in various towns around the country (I know, how do you scatter a life-sized giraffe?). The big thing right now is for towns to have sculpture shows in their downtown area. This way everybody gets to enjoy them, not just the people who walk into art galleries and museums. I’ve always wanted to have my artwork be accessible to the general public. If I didn’t, I would keep them in my backyard. So the lion is in Sioux Falls being leased to buy by the…um…Lion’s Club of Sioux Falls. The musk ox and egg are out there too but will be moving onto other towns next year. The scattered giraffe is in Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. I get such a kick out of hearing that someone went jogging in the park and truly enjoyed running by the giraffe. (And for the record, yes, they are for sale.)
Bringing art into your life doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Nor does it have to be art. Some of the best ways I have of bringing art into my life is eating a really good meal that my husband has cooked. Or perhaps I will light some candles for dinner. Or I will pull the beautifully colored throw blanket over my cold feet while watching TV. Or I might breathe in the yellow/brown color of the soybean field in autumn. Art is not just what is on the wall but, like the quote says, it is in EVERYTHING you do.
So my job as a human is to find ways to bring art into my life, by reading books, listening to music, looking at art, and painting my walls a pleasing color (s0me day I’ll get the hang of the color thing.) My job as an artist is to create beautiful objects that make people smile, frown, ponder and, well, live!
I’d love to hear what kinds of things bring art into your life. It can be something simple like finding a really good sandwich place for lunch or something more complex like traveling to Europe and going to museums. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and leave me your ideas!