Blog / 2022 / Making Art When the World Is Ending
July 26, 2022
For anyone who’s been following this blog closely: yes, this means I moved again. I’m still in Lambertville, but unlike my first apartment in this town, which you can see in this video, my new one has water that doesn’t smell musty and pipes that aren’t potentially leaching lead.
Sometimes I think that humanity’s tendency to see the world as always ending could be a good thing, an idea that I explain in this video. Then again, that post is from before COVID arrived on the scene, so it’s possible that, three years into a pandemic, we’re all a bit end-timed out, as it were. I know I, personally, am exhausted on a level that I couldn’t imagine back in 2019.
The end of reproductive rights, the end of LGBTQ rights, unrelenting systemic racism, the all-pervasive poison of ableism, fascist takeovers across the planet, unending war, global warming, a constantly mutating pandemic. Things feel more than a little dire right now.
With all this in the air, it can be hard to feel like art matters. A friend described it to me as a lack of faith in the future. When tomorrow seems so uncertain, painting can feel pointless.
But it’s actually a whole lot more pointfull than so many other things.
I mean I don’t think many people would disagree that certain human activities become unequivocally pointless at the end of the world:
- Wall Street and everything associated with it
- the entire insurance industry
- basically anything that’s money-centric
No points at all.
Art-making, on the other hand, has got plenty. It just feels futile because artists—amateur and professional alike—tend to be more sensitive to, well, everything. We worry about others, about the world as a whole. We’re aware and curious. Plus, our imaginations are scary-good, making scary times that much more frightening.
Art is a necessity like air, water, food, shelter, and health care. As I set up my studio yet again during one more end of the world, I’m reminded that, even if this is the conjunction of horrible that actually kills us all (or makes us wish we were dead), I’ll have seen it through by making love tangible across space and time. I’ll have been creating objects that make people feel seen and understood. I’ll have been opening myself and others to new worlds and different ways of thinking, helping people to get outside of their own narrow experience and allowing them to become better and more loving. And that’s really the only point that matters.
This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!
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