“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” ― Cesar A. Cruz
Last night I was watching "Oddities" on Netflix. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this awesomeness, "Oddities" is a reality show of sorts that showcases an antique shop called "Obscura". This incredible store in NYC has the most delightful collection of antiques and, you guessed it, obscure items. They deal in anything from pickled two-headed animals to early medical equipment that seem more like torture devices. They buy and sell only the most thought-provoking pieces and a visit to this little house of wonders is certainly top ten on my bucket list. I hope to get a picture with Mike & Evan, the owners of the store, and possibly acquire a piece from their collection if the price is right. But back to the point...
In the episode I watched last night the owners of the shop were delivering "supplies" to an artist. Although I'm not a fan of her particular esthetic, she said something that shook me, "It is my job, as an artist, to evoke emotion in people. To make them feel something," I don't remember her name or the exact verbiage used but that was the basic idea. And it hit me. So I'd like to take a moment to reflect on this idea and dissect what this means to me. I've been far too polite in my artistic endeavors. I hold back because I don't want to make anyone flinch. I have a small personal collection of photographs and art that I don't share with many people because I don't want to offend anyone. In this, I have failed as someone who considers herself to be a creative individual. As an "artist" I care way too much about my viewer. I've settled for praise when I really want to strive for shock and awe. I want to provoke my audience. To make them think. To wake up an otherwise slumbering world with images and pieces that, as Cesar put it, "comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable." That is what art means and is. It should make people think and feel something. Anything. Art is an expression of the inner most workings of the artist's soul. What the artist sees is poured into the expression and placed in front of the viewer in an attempt to stir emotion out of them. To help them see the world through new eyes, and perhaps discover some feeling in themselves that they haven't noticed before. People are complex and weird and beautiful and enthralling all at once. Yet we do our best, as a society, to fit into polite conformity. Let me elaborate. As people we conform, as a person we are completely our own. We know this.
I have a special breed of "stage-fright" that battles me whenever I try to showcase myself, or my work, on any platform. I love beautiful things. I love grotesque things. Last night's epiphany has inspired me to create some new pieces and not to worry so much about opinions. A concept I still struggle with. Its mostly my own opinions that are my downfall. I should remember that.
Peace & Love & all that jazz.
Exact quote that helped inspire this blog-
"My job as an artist is to provoke people. I think if you don't provoke people, they are just numb."
Thank you for the inspiration Ms. Hatry!