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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still Art Thrives

All I wanted to do today was watch Lost. Those of you who read regularly know that I am obsessed. And then, of course, I found out that my dad took my Lost episodes back to Blockbuster. So I'm spending the evening on the Internet finding music I haven't heard before. And an idea hit me.

You see, I've been trying to pick a New Year's resolution. I've never really had one before, because it didn't seem like the kind of thing I would keep. Well, actually, hardly anyone keeps their New Year's resolution, and I find that simply disappointing. I never wanted to pin my year on a goal that just wouldn't happen.

But, sitting here, listening to new music, I came up with my first real New Year's resolution. I plan on making time each day to discover a song I've never heard before - hopefully by a brand new artist.

Ponder something with me, Coffee Lovers. We live in a time period where any song, any piece of beautiful visual art, any photo, any biography, any novel, any memoir and every newspaper exists - waiting to be experienced - at our fingertips. This is not a world of two-record-households any longer. The amount of music alone that we are given each year is incredible. It blows my mind that I can own over a thousand songs and still have thousands (in dozens of languages) left to find.

I have grown up in a world that takes art for granted. We pirate music; we underpay poets; we shun novels that require more comprehension than vampire romances. And still art thrives. We don't go see movies if they don't have steamy sex scenes and fast car chases. We don't go to museums anymore to just marvel at paintings. We don't buy sculptures. And still art thrives.

Art is the most resilient weed that has ever taken root among mankind. We are addicted to it. We are in love with it. We rate, rank, berate, shun, criticize, and create it. I am an artist, and I believe that art is what makes me human. I've heard it said that a chimpanzee genetically differs from me by only two percent. But the major difference between a chimpanzee and a human being is that a chimpanzee creates things to use them. A human being creates things to love them.

I have three favorite paintings: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, Paulo as Harlequin by Pablo Picasso, and Spain by Salvador Dali. When I look at such glorious testaments to visual art, I can't help but be moved. These men - Klimt, Picasso, Dali, and all the others - have poured something out onto a canvas for no other reason than my own personal satisfaction. Klimt poured out his love of romance. Picasso poured out his love for his son. Dali poured out his beliefs about Spain. Show me a chimpanzee who can do that.

I'm sure you'll understand me when I say that I have a soul. I can saturate words with it. I can make connections with it. I can create with it. That is what makes me different than a primate. Even if a primate has 98% of my DNA, it does not have my soul, or your soul for that matter.

So I am spending a year finding music. People sing to be listened to. And, this year, I will be listening. I'm hoping it's an extra shot of espresso in my daily cup.

Who knows? I may even share some songs with all of you Coffee Lovers.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.


  1. For songs: Pandora Radio. You'll discover the most amazing music you'd never know existed otherwise.

    In general: You, my sister and I could have a very engaging conversation about this. We went to the Picasso exhibit at the SAM over break, and we started discussing what art really *is* or is not.

    You continue to blow me away with your wisdom, as usual. Love you, Michael!

  2. "I plan on making time each day to discover a song I've never heard before - hopefully by a brand new artist."

    A suggestion, Michael. Change it to (or open it up to) "a brand old artist."