The Arts: More important than economics

I’ve seen a lot of commentary lately stating how important the arts are to the economy, how important artists are to employers in our current economy. While this might be true, I fear more important and enduring reasons for supporting the arts are being forgotten in the rush to justify them to our modern culture. Recording culture, asking difficult questions, exploring feelings that words cannot express or simply creating for the sake of beauty are all more valuable to individuals and society-at-large than propping up the GDP.

While I understand why organizations are leaning this way in their communications, the best of the arts just isn’t precisely quantifiable — despite our American desire to evaluate everything with numbers and hard data.


Art as a competing commodity

Yeah, yeah, my first post in more than 16 months. Priorities change when your time is munched (i.e. you have a toddler). If you’re interested in what I’ve been trying to focus on the past year plus, see Keyword “trying.”

Regarding my own mostly futile attempts at sculpting, the following quote sums up where I’ve found myself at this point in life as an artist (assuming I actually get regular time to make art in the coming months per the current goal):

“Culture and music are just competing commodities. The things that we really value are the things we discover not the things that are sold to us. We’re content to be discovered.”

– The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus

Via Opus.

Does an artistic education ever end?

I started my college education majoring in architecture. This made perfect sense, really. I’d been spending hours upon hours, of my own accord, after school and during the summers drafting floor plans for houses since the sixth or seventh grade. While my friends went to parties or played ball (granted, I loved to play football or tennis or ride bikes with them too), I was often in my room, at my desk, putting to paper some sort of ingenious home design.

After two years pursuing architecture formally, I ended up changing majors for tangential reasons — reasons not related to my love for architecture, which had only grown. I switched to fine art, largely because it seemed like a logical step at that point in time (as much as college students are able to deduce such a thing).

I started studying graphic design, since it was the practical course within the fine arts degree and since my father, like many others before him, asked regularly how I was going to make a living in life. However, the graphic design professors at my university were positively awful teachers. One fell asleep in the middle of class on multiple occasions while beaming Wolfenstein onto the screen in front of the class, another had a fetish for magenta (among other things, reportedly) and a third took an independent study approach to teaching and our class only met about four times during the course of a semester. Needless to say I didn’t feel as though I was going to learn all that much more from them in the upper level classes.
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Learning to play tug with the dog

Apparently I can’t upload this directly to Facebook, so I guess I’ll post it here! An animated gif of my son learning to play tug with the dog, and the dog learning to play tug with the baby.


Tax incentives and the arts

While I’m not convinced tax credits (or deductions or inclusions or . . . ) are a good thing to begin with, this is very interesting:

” [In Canada] parents get a tax credit for money spent exposing their children to arts, recreation, or culture . . .”

[Preceded by] “A couple of years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite books for a friend. I went through all the books I’d read for the past five years, and pulled out the ones I most loved.

I was shocked to realize about one-third of them were from Canadian authors. One-third. Not of the books I read, mind you, but of the books I loved.”

Via Stone Soup

Intentional Observation: Pointy stripes

Pallet bark

Twelfth day of Christmas

Reposting one of my favorite photographs. I don’t do this with my own work very often, but something about the colors and composition of this photograph are always fascinating to me.


Ninth day of Christmas

Announcement to shepherds

TITLE: 天使向牧人傳佈嘉訊 (The Angels Spreads the Good News to the Shepherds)
ARTIST: 華效先 (Hua Xiaoxian, Luke Hua Hsiao-hsien)
INSCRIPTION(S): 路加華效先敬繪於一九四八年初夏 (Luke Hua Xiaoxian painted [this] in early Summer 1948)
MEDIUM: Chinese watercolor on silk; mounted as hanging scroll
DESCRIPTION: Two shepherds wait in the snow with their sheep while the angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus.
DIMENSIONS: (Painting [Mounting]) 53×47.5 cm [65.5×123 cm]


Eighth day of Christmas

Nihonga: Practice with metal leaf

Metal leaf with nihonga, white. Done with the materials I still have around. Taken from sketches of clouds made from an airplane last December. Very eager to go deeper with this medium.