A is for Art!
Happy 2023! I have been thinking about this blog since December ‘22 and have made the decision that I will write about topics around creativity which make me curious. I hope you enjoy the journey along with me, and where better to start than with ‘A is for art’. Art in all its guises. What does art mean to you? For me, it is something that is created with imagination and skill, that is beautiful and expressive, even important. It may contain ideas, values or emotions. First then, a whistle stop tour of some of the forms of art I most enjoy, and then some of the ways art has had a positive impact on the lives of family and friends.
Sculpture - Barbara Hepworth immediately springs to mind with her evocative abstract sculptures set in her beautiful garden at St. Ives. If you get the opportunity to visit, the fluidity and freedom of the planting married with the forms she has created is a magical experience.
Painting - Do beg, borrow or steal a ticket to the Paul Cezanne exhibition which is on at Tate Modern until the 12th March 2023. He claimed ‘With an apple I will astonish Paris’, and the exhibition devoted to this pioneering painter is simply inspiring.
Photography - This is my own personal expression of art so there are so many I could mention! In recent years I have found the understated images of Paul Sanders mesmerising.
Music - This has been a fundamental part of my life and brought me so much joy. Perhaps the Beatles come most immediately to mind. I have always enjoyed the story of John Lennon and Paul McCartney entering an antique shop in Sevenoaks in 1967 (not far from where I live) and picking up a flyer about Pablo Fanque’s circus. This then became the origin of a song about the circus with the lyrics ‘For the benefit of Mr Kite there will be a show tonight’. A wonderful demonstration of how the different forms of art interact with each other.
Food - So much more than the inevitable lunches recorded on Instagram, the art of good cooking has always been something I have appreciated!
Dance - My love affair with dance is wide-ranging, extending from a classical ballet like Swan Lake to the energetic sound of Stomp. For those that haven’t seen the latter, it’s an invigorating, stimulating performance with sounds and visuals coming from brooms, garbage cans (it’s American!) and even Zippo lighters. A feast for the ears and eyes.
Words - Surprisingly perhaps, for someone who contends with dyslexia every day, I continue to have a love of words and communication.
So, where to begin with art? It can start with a blank canvas, a film in a camera or a piece of fabric. Often an interest in one form of art blends into another. I have already mentioned the Beatles’ circus poster. When I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel the lyric ‘So long, Frank Lloyd Wright’ led me to find out much more about this pioneering architect and his wonderful designs, such as the home known as Fallingwater. From there I discovered Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect who studied drawing at the Glasgow School of Art evening classes and, with his beautiful furniture, metal and graphic art designs, is considered the father of the Glasgow Style. See theglasgowstyle.co.uk for further exploration of this architect influenced by art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement early in the 20th century.
Where does art begin and end? Does it cover a new scent? A new wine? A pile of bricks in the Tate? Duchamps ‘Fountain’ in 1917 (a urinal)? We need not be too high-flown, but at what point does art smack of the ‘emperor’s new clothes’.
Some recent experiences of friends …… a hairdresser who has a real talent for portraiture told me her evening class for ‘beginners and improvers’ had become for her so therapeutic it was like a meditation every week. Another friend tells me his passion for album covers combines appreciation for the skill of the designer, his enduring love of music and an aide-memoire to his own personal history. A friend who paints regularly with her elderly father en plein air says her pen and wash watercolours will always remind her of the various parts of Kent they have visited, the gentle time spent with a much-loved family member and the taste of pork pies and flask coffee that accompanies every outing.
So, from the street art of Banksy to the controversial lyrics of the Sex Pistols, from the glowing Fabergé eggs of the Russians to the elegant lime tree walkway at Sissinghurst, art is everywhere!
What will you do? What will you explore? As Neil Gaiman the author says “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.”
Hover your mouse over the images below to see captions.