Why do we do it? We have these functional things on the side of our heads that process sound, helps us connect to others, and keeps us from bumping into things, especially if they are coming up from behind. So why do we put holes in them and hang stuff off them?
Crazy - right?
Perhaps millions of years ago Fred the Troglodyte found a gemstone on the ground and wanted to keep it, but his pants didn't have pockets, and ooops, he didn't have pants. So he tied the stone around his neck and went back to the cave where Sally saw it and wanted one, too.
Presto chango: the first jewelry was created.
Yet throughout all of time, and in every place on the planet, people choose to decorate our bodies. It must be something more than lack of pockets.
Decoration seems to be visceral, intrinsic to our very beings. Troglodytes painted on the walls of caves. Every society throughout time and all over the planet decorates bodies and environment. Music and dance are also everywhere and always. Every society makes funny sounds to which we wiggle and wave our bodies.
It may not make sense, and at the same time what is, is.
As we celebrate essential workers, honoring those who put their life in jeopardy for others, I also ask myself what is essential.
Some people proclaim that artist's work is unnecessary. One pontificated that we need nurses, police, etc. but no one ever needed an artist or actor so they should just shut up. I've been told to 'get a real job' too many times.
To anyone who also thinks art is unnecessary, who looks at the financial struggles of artists and thinks we should be doing something useful instead:
- No books, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- No video games, board games, card games, etc.
- No TV
- No movies
- No theater (not even virtual)
- No music
- No podcasts
- No radio
- No clothing, handbags, etc.
- Take the art off your walls
- Etc. etc. etc.
Remember, there is nothing we wear, touch, drive, sit on, or use that does not involve design and an artist.
Imagine empty walls everywhere you go. Imagine no music in restaurants, cars, bars, stores, etc.
Even more, artists don't just share beauty, but also show us who we are, where we've been, and what we can be, reflecting reality and possibility.
Imagining a world without artists and art, is there truly any argument that artists are anything but necessary nourishment, sine qua non and absolutely essential to a healthy, happier world?