I received a comment here at Ed Haddaway Redux not long ago from a Mr. Bobby R*****. In his comment Mr. R***** states:
“ I am 9 years old, and I think ART is stupid. ”
Needless to say these remarks were met with a great deal of consternation at Ed Haddaway Redux.
However in the last week or so I have managed to do some significant research on the matter and I have discussed it at length with some of my colleagues.
While I believe there is no definitive answer to Mr. R*****’s concerns, I would like to delve into the pivotal questions that arise from his assertion.
Rather than my usual learned exposition on the matter however, I have chosen to address Mr. R*****’s comment in a more personal vein:
Dear Bobby R*****,
As to whether or not “ART is stupid” I can only answer from my heart and say, “yes, art IS stupid….but only up to a point.”
When I was young (much younger than you) I was too enthralled with what I was doing to seriously question it. It was 1953, I was almost 3 years old, and at the time I was heavily involved with “mud”.
How I wish someone had sat me down back then and told me what lay ahead if I continued down the path I was on.
I am not certain that at that point in my life I could actually talk, and even if I could, I doubt that I would have listened…..really listened.
I was too caught up in the moment, and blinded to the reality of the situation.
Unfortunately I grew up in an uncultured family and neither my parents nor my siblings knew the difference between a number 2 pencil and a number 7.
You must remember these were the days before color TV and at the time mud was thoroughly engrossing.
One thing led to another and soon I was making art.
My first forays into the art world were clumsy at best.
I was drawing abstract odalisques with finger paints and I had somehow confused Matisse with Manet.
There was no one in my family who knew enough about art to set me straight.
Also I could also not find a nude model at the time, as this was in Texas in the 1950s and no one ever removed his or her clothes.
So by the time I reached the first grade I was seriously off track.
There were many other unfortunate circumstances which I will not go into right now but let me just say because of art I experienced a very painful childhood.
As I reached my teens, other children would point at me on the street and laugh. They called me “artiste”.
But I pretended I didn’t care and I would tell myself that someday I was destined for great things.
Sure, there were times when I doubted myself.
For a while I even thought of attending a trade school and learning air- conditioning and refrigeration repair.
But always the need to be an artist overwhelmed me....and I would again set out on the path I had chosen.
Now at the age of 60 I look back on it all and I realize it WAS stupid and I HAVE wasted my life.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge in all this time and someday I hope to explain it all much more clearly.
But let me just state where I am today:
I am rejected by society and critics despise my work. My health is failing, my finances are a mess, I am on the verge of a nervous collapse, my daughter wont talk to me, my trees are dying, the dog now sleeps in another room, my wife has filed a restraining order, and I think the cat may have run away.
So you see Bobby the simple answer is:
“YES, ART IS STUPID.”
But there is a bit more to it than that……and I like to think it makes up for all the rest.
You see.....I HAVE ART.
In fact I now have a lot of art.
No, I cant eat it, or sell it …..hell, at this point I cant even give it away….
But I have it….ART….. MY ART.
And no one can take that away from me.
And Bobby, when a cold wind blows through my now dilapidated house, I snuggle next to a rusty jagged piece of metal and I KNOW that ART will always be there for me….…..
Even though I do not know what tomorrow will bring I DO know that ART will never let me down.
So Bobby, because of ART I can step boldly into the future.
I do hope this will help alleviate your concerns.