The 21 Artists Collaborative is 21 Nashville artists who are invited to work with individuals with Down syndrome for the Pujols Foundation, a national non-profit with a two-prong mission of serving impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic and creating extraordinary opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome. I was told that I was paired with a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome and autism who is non-verbal. My first thought was how will we communicate and make art together if he doesn’t speak?
My mother was an amateur artist for years before she got dementia and passed away. Why no one handed her a brush during her illness is beyond me, but it would have been both interesting and therapeutic to observe how dementia affected her painting style and her demeanor. By the end of her life, she lost her ability to speak and write. I wonder now if she could have communicated through her art.
Have you ever attended a party where a successful songwriter shares that he is a miniature portrait painter and restorer? Me neither. Painting miniature portraits is a lost art that does not come up in casual cocktail party conversation.
Brad Crisler, never formally trained in either art or music, is a renaissance man who picked cotton outside of Muscle Shoals to pay for his first keyboard, yet was a double major in finance and management in college. He later came to Nashville where he wrote hits for Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Brett Eldredge, and penned the Southern anthem “Sweet Southern Comfort” for Buddy Jewell.
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But is it?
Media sources encourage us to follow the latest trends. Every season, we are told what the new “in” color will be; and it’s an accepted fact that within days of a couture fashion show, knock-offs of the top designers’ wares will be on the streets at a fraction of the price. But does this hurt the top designers? Actually, it’s been said it may even help them. The spread of a new style creates a trend, a fashion cycle, that might not have happened had it not been for the spreading of that idea through knock-offs.
Have you ever walked into an office or home environment where the walls were bare? How did this make you feel? Cold? Lifeless? Now contrast that with an art-rich environment, a place that’s a feast for the eyes, intellect, and emotions. I literally feel my blood pressure drop when I’m around quality art. Now add music to this scene. How about poetry? I’m in sensory heaven! My problems are forgotten.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one to feel this way. The healthcare industry discovered art’s effect on patients’ and their families’ well being decades ago. Studies’ data point to the same conclusion—art heals. In one study they found that surgical or critical care patients left the hospital sooner and used fewer narcotic pain medications when they had a painting of a landscape in their room.
Picasso is probably the first artist who comes to mind when I think of style changers. He was more interested in the artistic process at hand than trying to keep in alignment with his “brand.” Picasso didn’t paint to please his public or his dealers. He said, “When we did Cubist paintings, our intention was not to produce Cubist paintings but to express what was within us. No one laid down a course of action for us . . .” Picasso’s stylistic phases went from figurative, which included the Blue and Rose Periods, to Analytic and Synthetic Cubism to Collage to Neoclassicism, Surrealism, and Expressionism. Picasso boldly experimented with child-like zeal most of his life, and it worked. Continue reading How Do You Feel When A Painter Or Sculptor Changes Their Style?
Buying art can be intimidating. Having worked in art galleries in both New York and Los Angeles, I remember clearly the tentative, almost fearful, faces of clients who had never purchased fine art. Seasoned art buyers were bold and asked tough questions. They wanted to know about the artist’s personal life, and they asked for studio visits and discounts. Some didn’t know anything about the artists or what the art was about—they simply bought art to impress their friends and colleagues. But I particularly enjoyed working with brand new clients because they seemed to buy art for what I thought was the best reason—because they loved it and couldn’t imagine their lives without it. Continue reading How To Buy Art? Follow Your Heart
Before the Italian Renaissance, all forms of art were under one umbrella until the architects, painters, and sculptors were plucked from the artisan pool and made into superstars. This left the potters, glass blowers, tapestry weavers, goldsmiths, etcetera, in the arena of craft or decorative arts for centuries to come. Then, in the twentieth century, fine artists began to incorporate crafts into their work, and the once clearly defined boundary between the two worlds blurred beyond recognition. Now I ask, is there a difference between art and craft? Continue reading Is It Art or Craft?
Have you ever driven only an hour from home and taken a mini-vacation for the day? The weather, architecture, flora, and fauna are almost identical to your hometown, yet because you’ve been transported from your ordinary life to somewhere new, you see these surroundings with different eyes. You take pictures at every corner; the people intrigue you; even the coffee tastes better! You feel happier and more creative. Suddenly you want to paint and write a novel. Is it the town? Before you sell your home and relocate, consider that you may simply have created the ideal situation to boost your creativity. Continue reading Dopamine & Distraction: Where on earth does creativity come from?
Years ago, I walked into a Los Angeles gallery and saw a pile of clothes in the middle of the floor. I remember asking myself, is that art? I had to step out of the formulaic art box in my brain labeled “Art = Painting + Sculpture,” and step into the world of conceptual (and installation) art. I think the concept was a statement against rampant consumerism in our society—ironic since there was a large price tag attached, which presumably would lead to the artist and dealer buying more stuff. Regardless, my friends and I stopped to discuss the piece’s meaning, which I imagine was what the artist wanted—to create conversation. But is this art? Since this installation evoked both an important idea and feeling, I would say based on Merriam-Webster’s definition of “art,” it was.