It's a little strange how things stick around in the psyche and output in my art. As a teeneager, I partook in a professional Serbian folk-dance ensemble, Dukati (gold medallions). My favorite dance incorporated a flying circle choreography, of which I was part (I wish I had video!). Basically, it was a boy-girl order where we would entwine and spin until the girls lifted off, arching our lower backs and holding ourselves up with mad upper body strength. It felt like flying and I wished I could grow wings! It was somewhat reminiscent of Matisse's, The Dance, but a bit more layered.
Travelling throughout the US gave me a unique opportunity to expand my scope of the western world at a relatively young age. Since I was a Serbian resident during my formative years, I already had a good taste of European culture. Fast-forward to my college years where I studied abroad in China and I visited enough of the world to discover some interesting similarities and differences in lifestyle, language, art, music, and so forth. It is because of this that I grew to love and understand humanity as I do.
Of course I studied the rest of the world; the places I couldn’t go thus far, like Africa, Alaska, and South America. Here’s what I found to be true: All across the globe, for the last 40,000 years, the arts played an integral part in the evolution of humanity. Music, dance, and mark-making of various kinds were treated as a language, and rightfully so. Until the arts somehow lost their meaning to the general public and evolved into esoteric forms of communication, and more importantly, financial acquisition in capitalist societies. Sad?
But true. Perhaps not all the arts… Music has a way of appealing to the masses. Dance is almost innate as we want to move our bodies, especially in the presence of a beat. But visual art has somehow lost the connection with the laymen, which I find rather tragic. True, art is off the beaten path as far as career choices, but so much wealth is scattered across this path. Once I discovered that, I couldn’t get off this road! I was addicted to finding the connections between art and all the other things. In seeking the knowledge, I built a web.
It’s like this… When you’re driving down the road and you pass the fast food joint, the movie theater, the ice rink, the ice-cream parlor, and then you finally reach your favorite restaurant, you know exactly where you’ve been and where you are. But you haven't seen the road ahead so you could only guestimate where you’re going, right? Well, I know what’s behind me and it happens to be a lot! I passed copying the masters, creating, exhibiting, and selling art. I passed all the boring writings of an artist including sketches and documentation, contract-writing, and legal jargon. I passed the abilities of my teachers and mentors. Then, (seemingly) suddenly, I appeared in the realm of math where I wished I spoke that language so I could communicate my universal discoveries to other mathematicians, but alas, my tongue is useless.
Despite my frustration, I trudged forward into physics, astrophysics, and quantum physics theories which I also couldn’t communicate because I don’t speak science the way scientists do, but I understand it just the same. Who knew art could lead me here? I couldn’t have imagined knowing what I know. But I also wasn’t aware that so many people understood so little about art. I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t communicate these theories to people solely through the use of art. It feels like if Stephen Hawking didn’t have a voice computer. Frustrating beyond belief! A prison sentence! So what are my options now? I could either become a physicist or I could teach people to understand art.
So this is the part where I try to teach it so I could lead you here. I want to demonstrate art's power, its truth, its validity in life-application, and its benefit to the future of humanity. This is a long road though. How many are realistically going to follow? How many are actually interested in learning? How many have faith that it’s a worthwhile journey when only one of hundreds of people said, “An artist? Good for you!” and stopped before they said, “But how will you feed yourself?” as if money is the only thing that matters in life? Ok, ok... there's another post in that.
Anyway, the reality is, probably not many. But, I don’t need many. I need a true few who could help teach their friends and so forth so humanity can embrace visual art as a system of communication once more. And to think, this ramble began with stories of a dancer. One never knows where the path will lead, but they can look back upon the history to see how they arrived to the now, and in doing so, can foresee where they are going.
Cheers to the future!!!