As artists, we have a unique role to be Beacons of Light with our work.
Jane Chu , NEA chair, recently was quoted as saying,
“As a young person, I couldn’t have survived without the arts. It was something that allowed me to be struck by beauty, a place where time stood still. The aesthetic value of art is essential to civilization.... and can guide us through this time of transitions. "
In order to create the work that allows others to enter into a place where time stands still, we need to be very protective of our head and heart space, our way of tuning in and being present to the our environment and to the sources of inspiration, of beauty, and that to which we respond in awe. How we are able to make the world a better place through our artwork, our teaching, our keeping alive another way of viewing and being present to life--all of this is dependent on our ability to stay connected and clear, tuned in to the pulse of life beneath the chaos and negativity.
Recently, one of my students said, “Has the world gone nuts or what?!”
We live in especially negative and chaotic times, where religious fanatics and self-righteous zealots are escalating hatred, anger, brutality, and human suffering. Much of our politics is ruled by corporate greed, corruption, and exploitation of the earth. In the age of the internet, we can learn of the latest incidents in an instant.
As artists, especially, we need to take great care with how much of the chaos and negativity of the outer world we take into our lives, for it can be so contagious. It is a delicate balance between staying informed enough to know what is going on in the world, and letting it intrude too much into one’s head space.
Where we focus our thoughts and energy grows.
What is your beacon of Light, a lit candle in the darkness guiding your way?
For me, it is the call of Sandhill Cranes or Canadian geese in migration, the way sunlight glistens on cottonwood leaves moving in the breeze. It is also the deep and profound silence found when walking in remote wilderness, where the overlay of human energy is minimal and the deep memory of the Earth’s epochs is within reach. I bring back to the studio treasures that beckon me: dried grass heads, particular bits of sandstone, quartz, or even petrified wood; a weathered bone, seed pods, the feather left by an owl. Reminders of beauty, that there is another way of being in the world, and of my role as an artist to articulate that which is invisible, make tangible that which is sacred.
Be Beacons of Light, Peace, and Kindness.
The world needs this from all us.