Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Love/Hate Affair of Art and Morality

I've been wanting to post some pictures from May's Blue Dome & MayFest Art Festivals. I think this might be the perfect moment. There are tons of pictures. It was hard to choose. These are from Blue Dome. MayFest will be next time.

So not being a philosophy major, or even a traditional college grad, I've never explored the relationship between art and morality before. I never thought about it. Doing a quick Google search, I discovered the great philosophers have indeed written extensively about the subject.

I just thought of art as the creation of something beautiful or interesting, decorative or useful, or a combination of any of these.

I do realize that art can be/is an expression of the artist's thoughts, beliefs, pain, joy.

I understand that artists support their personal causes with their talent and there are many examples of such endeavors. Hats off to them.

I suppose there are artists who use their gift to purposely cause division among people, perhaps in an effort to bring light to perceived injustices or perhaps to just be controversial.

Certainly, there are artists who use their gift to express spirituality.

So, yes, as I write and think this through, I can see where Art and Morality clash, collide, support, converge, and especially, engage.

However, the relationship among a community of artists may be another mindstreaming subject. And again, I'm thinking out loud here. 

The soul of most creatives is like a Monet painting - a blurry mess of color. Or a delicate Japanese cherry blossom print. A twisted Picasso. An abstract Pollack. One person described the artist's mind as "a browser with 2,857  tabs open. All.The.Time."  I think that one's my favorite.

Whatever is going on inside the artist comes out in their work. It's individualistic and to be respected.  But when we get together as a community, our binding link is our common calling to be creative.  We bond over sharing our love for the medium. Debating politics or religion doesn't accomplish that in this construct. Potentially hot subjects should be explored only in the context of how it is being expressed in the artist's work. ART is the point, the uniting center, the nexus for an artist community.

The Supreme Court's ruling involving Hobby Lobby is, like just about everything nowdays, highly charged. For our community it is potentially polarizing. 

It's personal to us because it is an art resource yet now we feel obligated to take a stance. But are we morally obliged? That's for you to decide. 

My hope is that each person would make a private decision whether to spend their hard-earned money there or not. Private decision. Not a campaign which opens the door of judgement against those who decide differently. 

Because, as a community of creatives, don't we just want to make art?

When engaged in a similar conversation, an artist friend of mine in Chicago expressed it best, in the most basic of terms:

 "I just wanna make cool shi!#."