Art in Everything

Classic Two-Door Station Wagon
Classic Two-Door Station Wagon

My great aunt had a car like this in her driveway. Her station wagon was not in perfect condition like this car. In fact, her car was rotted to the ground and used to store old pieces of wood. My dad would say that two door station wagons were rare, and he wanted to restore the car someday. He never got a chance to restore it before it melted into the ground, but he did see the hidden beauty beyond the poison ivy and dust that clung to the car. Even though it was just a station wagon, it was built with a love of design, creation, and style. It was built as art. Functional art, but still art. We dont see that as often these days. Just compare almost any building built before the 1970s with buildings today. Unless money will be made by the building being beautiful, the building is functional and comfortable, but not art. New hotels are sometimes beautiful and interesting, but only because theres money to be made, and this beauty is often superficial, and like a superficial person one leaves the interaction feeling empty. New hotels are built to be beautiful because of what it does for the business, not what it does for souls.

My great aunt had a car like this in her driveway. Her station wagon was not in perfect condition like this car. In fact, her car was rotted to the ground and used to store old pieces of wood. My dad would say that two door station wagons were rare, and he wanted to restore the car someday. He never got a chance to restore it before it melted into the ground, but he did see the hidden beauty beyond the poison ivy and dust that clung to the car. Even though it was just a station wagon, it was built with a love of design, creation, and style. It was built as art. Functional art, but still art. We dont see that as often these days. Just compare almost any building built before the 1970s with buildings today. Unless money will be made by the building being beautiful, the building is functional and comfortable, but not art. New hotels are sometimes beautiful and interesting, but only because theres money to be made, and this beauty is often superficial, and like a superficial person one leaves the interaction feeling empty. New hotels are built to be beautiful because of what it does for the business, not what it does for souls.

But this car is art. It has carried families in style. Back in the day, when it drove by people didnt see a machine. They saw true beauty. When this car was designed, the engineers didnt have efficient computers to help them draw the lines. They used pencil and paper and maybe clay. They got their hands dirty. They sweated and lost sleep. They poured their souls into this car. Like a painter or a musician, they created.

Im not knocking technology or innovation. We are doing more now than ever before. We are in the beginning of a revolution that will lead to solar electric homes which will recharge solar powered cars, and end our dependence on dirty and dangerous energy sources. We are a few years away from ubiquitous autonomous cars, a revolution that will be as big as the one from horse and buggy to automobiles. It will be a revolution that will bring transportation to those who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. What I am against is the loss of art. I understand budgets, and how functionality usually wins, but it’s time to let art rise again. It’s again time to let it be a part of everything we do.

Why do workers feel like they are dying when they spend large portions of their lives in cubicle farms looking at black bordered computer screens? Why do those same workers decorate their cubes with art from their kids or pictures of vacation destinations? Why do they put on headphones and hardly notice or know the person sitting two cubes away? Its because weve automated everything for improved efficiency and use of space, but forgotten how to retain humanity in the efficiency. Weve forgotten how to keep art in the efficiency. Art is Humanity. Or maybe humanity is art.

Lets bring back art to everything. Lets make it all beautiful, or even appalling, but lets create toward interesting. We lose sleep over making machines works. Let’s lose sleep again over making them art.

 

Originally published October, 2016

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