Embracing Marxism

Adolfo Sanchez Vasquez argues that the artist can only create in response to an inner need to express and communicate - freely, not on account of an external demand.

Let me tell you why.

Try to imagine a world without art. No color, no music, no poetry, no fantasy or imagination. Such a world would be unbearable, inhuman even, so humdrum I'd be able to hear a slight "womp womp" in the gray distance. We know why millions of people find a sense of peace in music and dance, why they fall in love with the world of cinema, why Tania is obsessed with Alexander Skarsgard. All these forms of art - be it acting, singing, painting, writing - speak to us. More than a form of communication, art makes us feel connected to each other, it strikes a chord in our hearts, it inspires and lifts us in a world that would otherwise be dust and decay.

From the beginning, art was clearly not individual, but social in character. It was a way to communicate, document, story tell. The difference between us and animals is that we have culture, and this culture is not inherited. It's learned. We've been able to learn about past cultures and societies by observing the art they created, which was influenced from external factors. Artists are affected by extrinsic forces all the time, we all are. Inspiration isn't derived from thin air - it must come from an outward source. When the sun casts a warm glow of honey red just before it sets, I understand why artists are moved to paint it. Or if something is making you feel like time is irrelevant, you might paint melting clocks on a vast landscape. Or if you're Taylor Swift and your high school boyfriends have been douchebags, you might be itching to express yourself in the form of a song (with teardrops on your guitar).

I remember interviewing Warwick Saint for Picture Magazine when it was still in publication. Saint expressed his great dissatisfaction of America's extremism towards sex or nudity (my comment about Adam Lambert's risque performance caused quite the stir). To him, America either has a Judeo-Christian perspective, that sex must be pure and clean and for means of reproduction, or the alternative of hardcore pornography. There is no in between. And this absence of middle ground influenced him to find a balance between the two, to introduce sensuality as natural to the American culture. Look at Vogue Italia or Vogue Paris. High fashion editorial images display boobage all the time, sometimes classically, sometimes erotically, but all extremely beautiful and provoking. Look at American Vogue, with some Hollywood actress smiling ear-to-ear gracing the cover. There's S Magazine from Denmark, Numero from France, Love from the UK. All embrace nudity as Gustave Courbet once did. But I digress. While Saint's ambitions of taking the stick out of America's ass are high, I don't see Americans being as open as the Europeans anytime soon, but you understand that it's not just the beautiful that inspires people to act or change something in the society. The ugly has power in spurring people to create change.

What I'm trying to say is that for the last month, I've lost sight of why I created this blog. It was becoming a way to showcase photographs from holidays or reciting what I've already said on Facebook. This blog is not my Facebook profile. I suppose I was focused on writing for an audience that I lost sight of writing for myself. And I feel that art also loses its appeal when people create just to sell record albums or design art that people like, but the artist himself doesn't.

Even though we might be influenced by external factors, it's important to absorb an experience and take that to make it something of your own, for yourself.



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