Discover more from The Rewilded Life
The world is burning. Why make art?
Thoughts on the necessity of the unnecessary.
Over the past year I’ve seen one particular tweet recirculated from time to time and each time I see it, it stops me in my tracks:
“As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series or read a book or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in your darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists.”
Its a truth too often unacknowledged that art is a much wider and sneakier thing than the forms to which we reduce it. We limit our conception of artists to those whose work hangs in museums or galleries, or maybe a symphony hall or poetry book. We take for granted the art forms engrained in our cultural rhythm: Netflix shows, the latest Marvel movie, top 40 radio. These too are art, even if some are bad art. They are the art forms woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Most of us do not own expensive paintings or attend orchestra concerts, but we all seek out art to comfort our fears and console our hearts.
Its no wonder that during the early stages of the pandemic lockdown so much of the country became obsessed with Tiger King and sourdough bread. When the world grows heavy, we turn to storytelling and the act of creating; we turn to depictions of humanity and our persistent determination to live and not die.
When the world is burning, why make art? Because art is not reserved for the professionals, or even the gifted. Art is an exercise of what it means to be human and it reclaims our collective humanity, piece by piece.
Hildegard of Bingen is famous for many things: science, music, natural healing, poetry. An impressive array of talents, but all of them art. And she was a nun. She made this art because she couldn’t know God and not make it. She made art because without it all her spiritual language came back void, all theory and no substance. She made art because connection matters; because at the end of our darkest day, we need to know that there are others asking our questions, sharing our fears, and clinging to our hopes. If there is anything to hold onto at the gentle bosom of God, it is that.
So please, you artists.
The world is burning.
We need you to make art.
Resources for the artist in you:
Wishing you a summer of art-making,
Psssst… next time you hear from me (in a month) I will have exciting news to share!