Thursday, May 02, 2019

Art & Emotion

I have never felt comfortable discussing art with most people who like art. That's because I feel so ignorant on the subject. I do agree with whoever said they didn't know much about art but knew what they liked. And I tend to like what makes me feel or think.

Georgia O'Keeffe was the first artist I appreciated and it wasn't even her actual work that drew me in first. What I loved right off was the romance between her and the man who loved her so - and who photographed her in such a way that the love was obvious. I always wanted a man to look at me the way I imagined Alfred Stieglitz looked at O'Keeffe. I felt voyeuristic because of much I loved one sensual photo of her (you can see it here) and  I obsessed over O'Keeffe's hands. Later, I learned to love the way she painted those flowers.

O'Keeffe's flowers made me think about the simple beauty of nature that most of us don't take the time to appreciate. They reminded me to be in awe of nature and to truly understand that  - in Reddit-speak - nature is f**king lit.

You can only know what you are exposed to. Books and music are what my parents - my father - taught me to love. Both are forms of art but I was never really introduced to paintings or sculptures. The commonly know works of Michelangelo and da Vinci was unavoidable since I grew up on the Bible and in church. And... that's it basically. I have glanced at photos of works by the classical greats but so have most people.

Recently, I watched something on Netflix about an artist whose work really made me take notice. Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski was interesting in all kinds of ways. I haven't decided exactly how I feel about the artist himself, but I fell in love with his work. The only way I can describe it is to say that if Szukalski had been a singer, he could hit notes no one even knew about. (By the way, here is where you learn more or even purchase books and prints.)

This piece is a favorite. And this and this and this (which is titled "Stubborn" but, to me, portrays depression). There's no room to list all the ones I like. I also loved the look of the letters he wrote to his wife. By the way, the man wrote like an artist. Literally. You have to watch the film to get that part.

I'm really glad that I happened upon that film because I discovered another artist. I think that artists - of all kinds and all mediums, whether visual, aural or otherwise - give the rest of us new ways to understand our feelings. For instance, I can't explain what love feels like but  Gwendolyn Brooks did it for me with her poem (my favorite!). Side note: I remembered blogging about the poem before and it was also a post about mood expression.

What I am realizing is that I can either just stumble across beautiful things (by happening upon a film) or I can search them out. I guess I need to start paying more attention to the world that is outside my head. It's been a while since I have even taken time to appreciate the works of artists I love. I need to change up some life priorities...

Before I close out this post, I want to explain that my parents did expose me to a lot of beautiful things. I didn't appreciate it at the time like most children don't. I wish my father could be here to tell me more about the music he loved and why he loved it. I can remember my mother helping me to understand why she loved the old "negro" spirituals she sang and hummed all the time. I'm even glad that I went through my teen years loving the works of Nikki Giovanni without understanding why until years later.

I can't remember now what prompted me to write this post, but it has motivated me. I want to spend some time this weekend looking back over some of my favorites artists. I want to get to a used book store and make some finds. Now I've got art and emotion on my brain.