Posted tagged ‘Art’

Keeping my eyes open

June 12, 2011

I like to keep my eyes open for cool art. Here are a couple recent examples:

This old Life Savers ad is in the women’s bathroom of The Old Salt Restaurant in Hampton, New Hampshire (it says Life Savers are “a good rule to follow after eating drinking or smoking”). I went there last Sunday in celebration of my fiance’s parents’ wedding anniversary. They enjoy going to this restaurant, and we actually went there once together last year. Their specialty is seafood (I had a salad with fresh succulent crabmeat)!

This photo of a dog in Fenway Park (in the red Ted Williams seat!) is on display at the South End Buttery. I wanted to try it out a few weeks ago, and since then have gotten yummy coffee there on several occasions. My fiance ordered a burrito there on Friday, and although he liked it the waiter handed it to him on a steaming hot plate. I didn’t think that was too nice!

When does art go too far?

January 11, 2011

Every now and then I’m reminded of the “Philosophy of Art” class I took in college. In this class, we discussed different philosophers’ perceptions of what constitutes good and appropriate art. Some philosophers claimed the purpose of art is to inspire us to do good; thus, art must depict positive images, or images of people doing saintly things.

Others believe the purpose of art is to make you feel a full range of emotions; that in doing so your purge yourself of extreme emotions. In other words, when you see something horrible happen to a character in a play, for example (say he’s murdered), you initially feel extremely upset, angry, or fearful. But after experiencing these emotions you realize that your life is very good in comparison. You realize there’s no need to live life with lots of anger or fear. So the act of experiencing a “negative” work of art is in fact cathartic and good for our well-being.

Sometimes I feel like the first group of philosophers were “more correct” and other times I feel the second group had a better grasp of how art should be used. Lately, I’ve felt that “negative” art has resulted in more good than bad. I think that’s because I’ve heard stories of “negative” art encouraging (or at least not preventing) murderers to do bad things. For example, apparently those involved with the New Hampshire murder of Kimberly Cates and attempted murder of her daughter (she was severely attacked) enjoyed watching “Dexter.

I’ve never seen this show before, but know it’s about a serial killer. A guy I know who watches it told me that Dexter is actually a sympathetic character. Crazy, huh (being that he’s a serial character)? I guess life isn’t always black and white, but I fear the blending of good and bad in this show could confuse already deranged people and prompt them to do something bad. Maybe I should watch the show first before jumping to this conclusion.

I have, however, seen movies that blur the lines between good and bad. In “The United State of Leland,” for example, you find yourself asking whether murder can sometimes be justified, or at least viewed with less disdain. One of the characters basically murders an autistic boy because he thinks he is very sad. He wants to put him out of his misery. The movie does not reach a conclusion about whether the murderer did the right or wrong thing. Looking back, part of me thinks this moral relativism is a horrible thing. But the other part of me thinks it’s good the movie makes you think (if only to arrive at the conclusion that the murder was reprehensible).

The thing with these morally muddled shows and movies is reasonable people end the experience with a fairly sound knowledge of what’s right and wrong, despite the reflection that was invoked. Not-so-stable people, however, see a horrible act being glorified or accepted, and take that at face value. They see something honorable about hurting others. And then maybe, just maybe, they do something stupid as a result.

The problem, however, is that something huge would be sacrificed if we only allowed artists to make paintings, shows and movies depicting inspiring actions. Life isn’t always peaches and cream, and we’d be doing truth a disservice by representing it that way. Plus, maybe seeing horrible things does purge of us unhealthy emotions. But unfortunately, crazy people’s minds don’t work the same way as everyone else’s. Who knows, though- maybe even inspiring art wouldn’t keep them from doing something terribly immoral.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/aneye4apicture/429810396

Thank you to my brother for this beautiful picture

January 3, 2011

My bro, Jimmy, gave me this picture for Christmas. I’m not sure where he bought it, but it’s so pretty! It’s now hanging in my bedroom.

Some recent acquisitions

September 1, 2010

A cute key holder from Montreal:

A back massager (works quite well, though it doesn’t go as high as I’d like it too):

A ceramic coin holder (well at least that’s what I made it) from an antiques store in Plymouth:

A lighthouse piece of art (boyfriend loves lighthouses) from Plymouth:

Mums from my sister:

Stop & Shop cookies from my sister (I wouldn’t normally mention grocery store-brand cookies, but these ones are amazing! Almost as good as cookies from Weggies!):

A Frenchy shirt from Montreal (yeah, I know it needs to be ironed):

I’m so lucky with all this cool stuff!

Don’t listen to the naysayers

April 19, 2010

paintbrushesHave you ever stopped doing something because someone told you you weren’t good enough?

I have.

When I was studying abroad some acquaintances told me it was crazy I was majoring in art. There was no purpose for doing it, they said. Only a few people could make a living as an artist, and I wasn’t one of them. Art was a fine hobby, but not something you pursued for a career.

As I spent more time abroad, I visited more museums. I saw awesome works of art, and starting wondering why I ever thought I could be an artist. I was just kidding myself, I thought.

I ended up changing my major. But the worst part is I stopped doing art entirely. I had been pretty serious about painting or drawing pictures for four or five years. I painted pictures for my roommates, and hung them up in our dorm. I painted pictures for friends for their birthdays.

But then I just stopped. I have to ask myself if my decision to stop resulted more from comments I received about my abilities, or laziness. I’m sure both played a role, but I wonder if I would have continued if no one had put my efforts down.

I really shouldn’t have listened to those people, and kept up my interest. Maybe I will engage in it again in the near future.

A couple of years later I was told by a journalist that I shouldn’t become a journalist. He said my writing style more resembled a lawyer’s (a definite putdown). But this time I didn’t listened to the critic. I ended up going to journalism school and becoming a journalist.

I’m glad I didn’t listen, even if I’ve decided to change fields after a few years.

Have you ever stopped doing something because someone made you feel like you weren’t good enough? If so, what was that thing? Do you regret your decision to listen to that person? Did you learn from that experience?

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/2292579833

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