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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amazing Art Essay (unknown source)

My creative pursuits began in the womb. I struck an elegant pose for the chiaroscuro ultrasound and produced my first piece of art to be displayed on the family refrigerator. As an infant, my appetite for art grew. Although I will admit to occasionally eating Play-Doh to deepen my understanding of the medium, I truly hungered for a simple mound to press my fingers into; the opportunity to sculpt and shape, to construct and create. Years went by, until I encountered my first taste of art education in elementary school where the assignments were always based on achieving absolute realism. I began to see art as a mere technical skill, no different from memorizing a spelling list or practicing handwriting. My hunger for creation was replaced by plain, old emptiness—until I met Vincent van Gogh.

I was wandering through the Impressionist gallery of the Cleveland Museum of Art, as van Gogh daydreamed on a street in southern France. We collided on a canvas in between. "Road Workers in Saint-Remy", a tree-dappled autumn landscape, magnetized me immediately with its bold ochre sky. For the first time, I didn't care about the methods, technical details, or lack of realism. Most important were the feelings behind the thick black outlines and undulating strokes of bold color. The scene reverberated with the dramatic tension of an artist at his breaking point, a slew of emotions simmering beneath its thick shell of oil paint. Because of van Gogh's obvious emotionalism, my own feelings were awakened. I was inspired—and starving to create.

Since that fateful day of our meeting, Vincent and I have become great friends. You know what they say—"You bandage my ear, I'll bandage yours!" Through studying his paintings, I have found artistic direction and a sense of purpose. I have forgotten the restrictions of my elementary school art classes, and abide two simple principles: (1) Emotion is always paramount. Style is simply a device to create an understanding through aesthetic presentation; and (2) All art is a self-portrait, no matter if the subject is your mailman or a bowl of fruit. Show yourself in everything. 

With these fundamentals, I strive to produce interpretations of my world rather than empty documentations. Instead of drawing from photographs, I attempt to capture fleeting snapshots of life in visual equivalents of my emotions. Van Gogh convinced me that a filter of personal experience on my art was not a curse but a unique instinct to be passionately embraced. Upon accepting this, I stopped painting pictures and started creating art.
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