Survival, and music is the medicine

Survival in Art.  A theme that I had not thought about quite yet, although a couple of ‘pings’ shot through my mind.  First, I  pondered my interpretations:  Survival as an artist.  Who survives as an artist?  Who is only able to survive as an artist?  Are they surviving as an artist?  My mind felt like a Rolodex.  Images of artists shuffling supplies, carrying canvases, memories of friends painting late at night at school.  Thoughts of those who work in galleries, thoughts of those that are showing their work, but how are they surviving?  The few I know are getting by, but I haven’t talked to them in so long, I’m not sure if they are surviving solely on their artwork or know if their art is still surviving.  Art that is surviving, my second interpretation led my ‘memory Rolodex’  to my neighbor Milind and also my teacher friend Richard.  I know they both are surviving in art, but not on art alone. Their art is surviving, because they nurture it.  Milind my neighbor produces an average of 2 pieces of art a week.  We recently spoke about how he keeps his art alive.  He believes “commitment to producing a still life, landscape and portraiture at least once a week keeps me in touch with color, technique, and composition”.  “I favor abstraction, ” he says, “but appreciate all the colors you can find in a face, I use landscape and still life to keep me in touch with composition”.  His commitment inspired me because even though I am creative in my career on a daily basis in similar and different ways, it is time for me to renew my commitment in nurturing my own art and allowing it to survive.  Survival through Art was not one of the pings that went through my head until I came across two musicians:  Florence and The Machine and Will i am.

Florence of Florence of the Machine survives on her singing and singing is part of her survival.  We can all relate to singing in the shower, dancing in the kitchen, wailing to tunes in the car on a road trip, but for Florence singing is the method of her survival.   Her sweet sister whips her into shape when Florence slips into a panic attack, worries too much and battles those inner demons.  Even in the name Florence and The Machine, she considers using a word as she states “that sounds industrial, not like some sweet auntie in a floral shirt.” Florence sent a powerful message to me in thinking of my students, how they hum as they work, whistle, or happen to know every word of song in the background.  One little boy must have repeated Salvador Dali 100 times during an art lesson this past month.  It comforted him.  As much appreciation and motivation I absorb by observing student performance and channeling their strengths, I too need to explore the value of experiencing the survival of my own visual art.  It is long overdue!

Will i am totally blew me away with in sharing how he forms, composes and describes the process of making his music.  Seeing his documentary within the category of Visionaries on OWN seemed to truly define the theme Survival in Art.   I greatly appreciated his analogies in describing the process. When teaching printmaking using linoleum, I say to the students “the little metal carving tool needs to “cruise through the linoleum like a crocodile cruises through the swamp, most of his body (blade of tool) is dragging along the mud below water and just his eyes (top edge of blade) are peeking up through water”.  Synthesizing the processes of art and music,  dance and music, sports and art, sports and dancing and more, will create a greater understanding for our students.  Like teaching Kindergarten to weave “The two strips are friends as they are side by side, but if the strip goes over or under two in a row, we don’t have a “unified” checkerboard pattern.  Will i am talks about this in referring to piano keys. “Two keys side by side are a little cranky, have them mingle with some friends (down the line) and they will create harmony.  Will i am discusses how he uses music to SURVIVE.  This is a short clip of Will i am highlights his ability to survive with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). My minds ‘memory Rolodex’ went to my students that move.  They survive by movement, patterns, rhymes and tunes. The entire documentary of how Will i am produces, directs and records his new song “Sing Mona Lisa” in the Louvre….yes….it is amazing, was seen on OWN network and check there for next air time.

May we all go beyond surviving and survive from our soul!!

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2 Comments on “Survival, and music is the medicine”

  1. pepper says:

    Survive from our souls… nice goal! Losing oneself and then rekindling it with what is
    important for our selves seems critical at this juncture in our lives. Thanks for the reminder,
    thanks for the great sharing of inspiration…

  2. Wonderful post. I am not myself when I miss going to my studio. I am still alive, but yet, unsettled. My art making, thinking, and being, however is a form of survival, like you say, soul survival.


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