I experimented recently, to see how life would be without art. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine a world or an existence without the added beauty which art brings. It only took me two minutes to realize how empty my world would be without movies, books, graffiti, hand-crafted t-shirts, music, or any of the other things which make life more bearable. Each of us would lead drab, boring lives, without the addition of art in its many forms. Don’t believe me? Give my little experiment a try.
On a trip to Seattle a couple of summers ago, I wasted $35 on a ticket to go to the top of the Space Needle. Yes, the view was incredible, but after ten minutes, I was bored. Upon hindsight, my money (plus the other three admissions) would have brought me much more satisfaction and happiness if we’d just went right next door to the Space Needle, to the Museum of Pop Culture, known in those parts as MoPop. The trees outside of the museum are themselves works of art, made of plastic and neon lights. There are exhibits on Warhol and other artists, and I’m positive it would have been much more memorable than being jostled by tourists attempting to take pictures at the top of the Space Needle. Next time I’m in Seattle, I can guarantee that I’ll be visiting MoPop.
I’m a museum enthusiast, and every time I go on a trip (which is quite frequent!), I always visit a museum, either one dedicated to History, or Art. It enriches a vacation, or at least for me, it does. I visited the Vatican Museum in Rome, and the works of art were so incredible, that I probably could have spent two days happily wandering around, taking it all in. I followed the arrows to the Sistine Chapel, and after admiring the masterpieces on the way, I stood transfixed, staring at the ceiling, that magnificent ceiling created by Michelangelo. It was a ‘Bucket List’ item, which I happily scratched off, but I know that there will come a day when I gaze upwards once more at one of the greatest masterpieces ever created.
I’m not going to keep droning on and on about my love for art museums, but there’s one more I want to share. I had the pleasure of visiting the Louvre in Paris, where I saw the Venus de Milo for myself, as well as the much-hyped Mona Lisa. In the room where Mona Lisa lives, there are two paintings – Mona and “The Wedding of Cana, by Paolo Verone. Of the two, I found the ‘Wedding” to be much more intriguing, with all of its inside jokes and vignettes. It covers an entire wall, whereas Mona is only about eighteen inches in height. Also, there’s a line to visit Mona and trust me; it’s not worth it.
I walked through my house, taking note of the pictures and paintings we have hanging, as well as the postcards and magnets on our refrigerator. Our home abounds with art, but I wonder if any of our visitors even notice? There’s a Banksy print hanging in our living room. It’s a graffiti drawing of Billie Holliday, with the caption reading ‘Life is Beautiful.’ A person taking note of their surroundings might notice the handmade tequila set from Mexico, or the salt and pepper shakers from around the world or any of a dozen things which help make our house into a warm and cozy home. I look around our home, and I smile because I’ve surrounded my family with art, and I doubt if they’ve ever paid that much attention. As long as I know.
If I displayed my t-shirt collection, some mouths would drop in amazement, while others might shrug because they don’t get it. My t-shirts are each a piece of art, and I treat them as such. I have a Wu-Tang t-shirt, which is a remix with Banksy’s ‘Girl with a balloon,’ and the result is magnificent. I could wear a different t-shirt every day for four months, without repeating a single one. Shout-out to those who make wearable art for other people.
Alice Walker wrote, “that it’s a slap in the face of God to walk past a field with purple flowers and not acknowledge God’s greatness.” I agree. Whether it’s a Basquiat print, custom-painted Adidas, a Picasso t-shirt, an artist drawing pictures in Jackson Square, a chef making eatable art, a poet speaking on a microphone, or a writer pouring out tales onto paper, it is all art. Imagine a life without art, and then thank God for art and artists. Without us, life would not be the same. Acknowledge art and artists, no matter what their medium. We make life beautiful.
Marlon S. Hayes is a writer, poet, novelist, essayist, and author who lives in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Art is a passion of his, and even though his drawings of stick people are suspect, he applauds all who create art for the masses to enjoy. Follow him on Amazon, at Marlon’s Writings on Facebook, and marlonhayes.wixsite.com/author