Monday, June 21, 2010

long talks in the breeze.

“If you want to say something 
and have people listen 
then you have to wear a mask.
If you want to be honest 
then you have to live a lie.
~ Banksy

 I recently had the opportunity to see a tremendous film, Exit Through the Gift Shop directed by the elusive yet renowned graffiti artist known only as Banksy.  If you've never seen any of his work, do yourself a favor and look them up.  I challenge anyone not to be moved by his controversial, thought provoking and simply beautiful pieces.  But I digress ... 

The film gave way to a rather interesting discussion about art and it's consequently it's interpretation.  The direction of this discussion falls heavily on how one defines "art."

The dictionary defines it as such:

art : (ärt) n.
1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.
2. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.

It's interesting as to how the creation of art is such a freeing experience, yet simultaneously draws such powerful emotions and opinions that sometimes it actually constricts the artists themselves.  I suppose it's like Pandora's Box ... one cannot open up a pool of emotions and expect only the good ones to come flooding out.

I leave you with this story ...

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a great and glorious nation. Favorite amongst his subjects was the court painter of whom he was very proud. Everybody agreed this wizened old man painted the greatest pictures in the whole kingdom and the king would spend hours each day gazing at them in wonder.

However, one day a dirty and disheveled stranger presented himself at the court claiming that in fact he was the greatest painter in the land. The indignant king decreed a competition would be held between the two artists, confident it would teach the vagabond an embarrassing lesson. Within a month they were both to produce a masterpiece that would out do the other. After thirty days of working feverishly day and night, both artists were ready. They placed their paintings, each hidden by a cloth, on easels in the great hall of the castle. As a large crowd gathered, the king ordered the cloth be pulled first from the court artist’s easel...

Everyone gasped as before them was revealed a wonderful oil painting of a table set with a feast. At its center was an ornate bowl full of exotic fruits glistening moistly in the dawn light. As the crowd gazed admiringly, a sparrow perched high up on the rafters of the hall swooped down and hungrily tried to snatch one of the grapes from the painted bowl only to hit the canvas and fall down dead with shock at the feet of the king.  
Aha! exclaimed the king. My artist has produced a painting so wonderful it has fooled nature herself, surely you must agree that he is the greatest painter who ever lived! 
But the vagabond said nothing and stared solemnly at his feet.  
Now, pull the blanket from your painting and let us see what you have for us, cried the king. 
But the tramp remained motionless and said nothing. Growing impatient, the king stepped forward and reached out to grab the blanket only to freeze in horror at the last moment.
You see, said the tramp quietly, there is no blanket covering the painting. This is actually just a painting of a cloth covering a painting. And whereas your famous artist is content to fool nature, I’ve made the king of the whole country look like a clueless little twat."

  ~ Banksy

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