Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beauty in the breakdown.

The outsiders. No, not a group of greasers trying to belong while finishing a fight they did not start. I'm referring to the burden-driven, self-trained artists who will forgo everything else in life to manifest whatever is hiding in a dark corner of their soul demanding creation. Over and over. Painters, writers, musicians… famous tortured artists in general even have a Wikipedia page.

Crazy? Probably. Intriguing? Yes.

It's been a while since I've delved into the fine art side of my career roots, but while walking Canyon Road in Santa Fe, it was inevitable. Every corner of the road is filled with soul exposure. The road itself is a vision. Weathered doorways and brilliant colors. It's as if you're walking inside an artist's mind. Canvas walls, sculpture paths, and evolving environments.

I've never been a fan of art for art's sake. There should always be a concept or reason behind art and it should serve as a means for communication. But, there's something about the outsider art movement that blurs the line. Sometimes the concept is just the craziness. And it's beautiful.

I was reminded of a great movie, Junebug. It revolves around a Chicago art buyer trying to connect with her completely opposite in-laws while attempting to sign an outside artist. The movie is a little slow at times, but as a character study it's phenomenal. The subtle complexities inspire consideration from multiple points of view.

"Phil Morrison, who directed this movie, and Angus MacLachlan, who wrote it, understand how people everywhere have good intentions, and how life can assign them roles where they can't realize them." – Roger Ebert
The artist is burdened by his own eccentricities, but he boldly displays them in art. The other characters are also burdened, some hide it more than others. Confrontation with whatever they're hiding inside is unavoidable. As Roger Ebert captures brilliantly:
Consider a guarded moment between Madeleine and Eugene, her father-in-law. She observes cautiously of his wife: "She's a very strong personality." This is putting it mildly. Eugene replies quietly, "That's just her way. She hides herself. She's not like that inside." And then he adds two more words: "Like most." Thank God for actors like Scott Wilson, who know how those two words must be said. They carry the whole burden of the movie.
The eccentric outsiders of the world do not necessarily follow society norms, but they quietly live out loud. When you break it down, burdens are always there. Might as well find beauty in them.

[The title of this post was stolen from Imogen Heap.]

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