Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beauty in Life

I read an article in Mother Earth News newsletter last week. It set forth the proposition that the real fall of the Soviet Union was from the lack of beauty in their lives. The author sited that after the Wall came down and you drove from West Berlin to East Berlin, that you went from a beautiful cosmopolitan city with public art and amazing architecture to crumbling facades and apartments that were great, grey squares resembling a prison complex.

Okay, I think his hypothesis is valid. His conclusion I think is a bit dodgy. First off, not everyone benefits from public art in the cities, so you can't assume that everyone is suffering from the lack of it. There is no consideration for art in the home. There is no consideration for the beauty of nature.

But then again, what if a part of what this fellow is saying is true?

Our country was a rich place for art from it's inception until about the thirties and forties. I say that because art was a part of peoples lives then. Homes were decorated, not in a pristine way like in the magazines, but by the homeowner. Theorum painting and stenciling floors walls and ceilings.... murals! Traveling craftsmen that did every kind of wood working, building and carving, and much of their work was heavily ladened with art. Likewise there were traveling portrait painters. Folk art was everywhere! The Adirondack style of architecture was basically a blown up version of the folk art of the area.

But since WWII it seems all of the art has been stripped away from us. It has been placed in the hands of those who "know"
, like museums and galleries and universities and bank lobbies. And the artistic hole that has been left in the home has been filled with pictures of the grandkids and the family dog and velvet paintings of Elvis.

I have to say that the Mother Earth News guy isn't all wrong and I think that is why I am approaching the little farm the way I am. I am malnourished from the anemic life that I was told I was suppose to have. I can't stand how we are all getting squeezed in to this little box of uniformity and productivity, and if we don't fit then we have no value. I want everything I build to be beautiful and unique and fulfilling. I want to test my metal. I want to exercise my hybrid vigor. We are in a rough patch now, but as we come out the other side, I want to see that I have created something beautiful.

We'll see how that goes.


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