Happy New Year! How would you like to start 2023 in a new, creative way?
Every Wednesday and Saturday, we will be posting an installment of our book, Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively offering you a pathway to art and the vision of the artist. Enabling you to develop your own inner creativity and apply it to the personal cycle of everyday living!
II. The Journey to Art
Creative Living, part 2 (from February 22)
Soon, you may have to return to the responsibilities of your work. Yet, before you do, why not enjoy some artistic opportunities at the store, shopping center, or mall? For instance, do you have to run an errand or two? Or will you use your precious allotment of time to quickly consider an item that you might like to purchase for your own pleasure?
Have you ever thought of how many visual stimuli impact your eyes, especially at a shopping center or mall? Pretend for a moment that you are touring a museum—full of an incredible range of colors and shapes, patterns and designs, letters and signs, all expertly lighted and attractively displayed. This is all accompanied by what should be a cacophony of popular music that somehow blends into the uniform background sound.
Your other senses are affected too. Can you smell the soft pretzels and barbecue, perfumes and cachets, polyesters and leathers? Are your palette and fingertips stimulated as well? Do you have the urge to both taste and touch? Why not pause for a moment, absorbing the spectacle of modern advertising?
Even if your shopping jaunt only takes you to a single store, such as a drug store, convenience store, or supermarket, you’ll discover a multitude of sights and sensations. For instance, at a nearby Safeway, Giant, or other chain store, where you might want to pick up something for lunch or dinner, consider the miracle or artistry of packaging. Whether meat, poultry, cereals, sodas, condiments, or candles, almost everything has been prepared in designated colors and containers that seem just right for you.They enable you to choose the right product easily, as if it were solely your decision, although you might suspect that subconsciously you have also been influenced by the ingenuity of corporate power.
Yet how can you resist? There are your favorite bagels, in yellow and orange wrappings, decorated with a coachman and horses, a la eighteenth century England, or reliable dish detergent in solid plastic, lime green, or bottled water, streamlined, marked with its deer emblem against a backdrop of crystal, aquamarine and blue. Of course it is the product inside that counts. Or is it?
Andy Warhol and an entire movement of artists was inspired by this tantalizing showcase of daily shopping. Warhol, a successful commercial artist, was a pioneer of Pop Art some sixty years ago–art that focused on the uniqueness of the manufactured object, whether a soup can or a Brillo pad, or a Coke bottle. Not equal, of course, to the Mona Lisa or an Impressionist landscape, but still part of our man-made landscape.
These commercial displays may be noticed and weighed aesthetically as if tiny works of art, though at the same time judged to be ordinary, even banal. Like the Campbell’s soup cans that Warhol immortalized in paintings such as 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans or 200 Campbell’s Soup Cans. Or the giant clothespin or eraser or scissors conceived by Claes Oldenburg, more jokes than art? That decision is up to you?
However, for now, simply enjoy the commercial museums and galleries found in every city, suburb, and town. Ultimately expendable, hopefully recycled, and maybe someday to be replaced by a more conservation-oriented way of life.
COMING NEXT: THE ART OF THE OFFICE
Copyright 2010: Joan Hart, Museum One, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented including photocopying, recording and information storage and retrieval without permission from the publisher.