Who would have thought that an unmade bed with a dirty ashtray, empty liquor bottles, pantyhose and condoms would be art? A few years ago I read a book on pop culture and found out that this really is a thing. An artist named Tracey Emin constructed a sort of sculpture (?) that looked like some licentious slob’s bedroom. You’re probably shaking your head now like I did when I read it. You call that art? And what about the urinal that an artist pulled from a wall and placed on display? I think we all appreciate art. Even Cameron, Sloane and Ferris do. Though it seems we all have our limit.
I remember like it was yesterday sitting in my first grade class looking at a page I had coloured. I used a burnt brown crayon to colour the majority of it—I think it was a dragon. I loved the richness of that colour. I had such beaming pride that I had created this awesome picture! It was hanging with everyone else’s on the chalkboard ledge and I was convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that mine was the best one. By the time I entered junior high, art wasn’t as fun. Probably because by then I’d un-learned both the joy of creating and the thrilling power of a roaring self confidence. Something most of us unlearn when we begin to morph into adults. By high school I still had an appreciation for it and decided to elect the course in grade 10. I honestly think the most valuable thing I took from Art 10-2 was the few class hours we spent looking at slides of famous paintings and familiarizing ourselves with the artists. My favourites were Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and some of Picasso. I loved the latter’s “blue period” but couldn’t get into the boxy mixed up faces he is most known for. That was the line for me when I was 15. A Picasso with crooked lips, unmatched eyes, a geometric chin and—what the… is that a trapezoid-shaped boob?? Come on Pablo! Who do you think You’re kidding? Millionaire art auction bidders, please stop encouraging him!
Maybe your line was drawn with Andy Warhol. You saw the pink Marilyn Monroe painting that didn’t seem like much, or the can of Campbell’s soup, or that self portrait where he looks like a ticked off Woodstock from Charlie Brown specials. Now that’s not art. Pollock’s paintings of splattered colours angered a lot of people because it looked like something a child or well-trained monkey could do. And people are paying millions for this stuff?
And now a bed with condoms and stained undies is fetching $2 million. What is this world coming to?
But really art is an expression. It’s anything we create to convey beauty, a thing that can only be found in the metaphoric eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s good that Pollock’s work can be done by a kid. And maybe I’m still not sold on Emin’s bed, but I have to admit that Picasso, Pollock and Warhol have all grown on me over the years. I’ve also developed a love for street art with its creativity and simplicity.
I want to realize that what draws me and what repels me and what makes me indifferent in artistic expression is a result of my own experiences, tastes, and perception. And I want to try and give myself the few minutes it would take to dream of why I’m drawn to Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory or why someone else would be drawn to something I find ridiculous. It feels good to grow in this way.
When I write like this, it’s because I enjoy it. For me it’s a kind of art. So is announcing for a professional wrestling event. When I’m painting a bumper or fixing a tear in a leather sofa and a customer watches and says, “That’s a work of art,” I get a small tinge of pride. I like talking about these things and sometimes have to stop myself as I try to remember that this stuff can be an unmade bed for the person I’m talking to.
Still, hopefully I will continue to dare myself and jump into other forms of expression and creativity. I think I need it. I hope my kids learn to as well. They’re becoming adults quite rapidly these days. I’ll have to remind them what Ferris said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Congratulations Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Jennifer Grey. She is so funny in this movie and I loved how she ninja kicked Principal Rooney in the face.
Best Actor: Billy Crystal. He’s always funny in his movies, even if there’s a bad one, which isn’t many. Gotta say though that in Edward Scissorhands Johnny Depp does such a great job at drawing compassion and pity from the viewer. I love that movie and his performance in it.
Best Quote: “I’ll have what she’s having.” – When Harry Met Sally
My two favourite paintings are Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters and Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son. I can stare at them for long periods of time. Longer than some TV shows can keep my attention. From what I hear, even ADHD sufferers experience this. And yet art is usually stationary, quiet and non-interactive. And for what it’s worth: I’m not sure that I will ever get the opportunity again, but I promise that IF I ever colour a picture of a dragon with a burnt brown crayon, I will be sure to post it on here. And you will see then that I am the best!