Art should speak to you, it should share its story. Art is a powerful way to share ideas, a story, a message to the observer. It should speak volumes without saying a word, move and motivate you to a deeper understanding. However, I have a question? Should everything that is created be called art? It seems that everything that is illustrated is tagged with the word, "artwork". However does that mean everyone that scribbles something on paper considered artwork?
The reason for this post is something that has bothered me most of my adult life and even when I was in school, which I must confess was some time ago; is Andy Warhol all that and a bag of chips? Andy Warhol and others create artwork that looks like the artwork that my nephews created when they were just children and it was taped to the refrigerator door. I have to ask that question, is that considered art? Is doodling on a piece of paper when you are on the phone, is that art? A picture of an aspirin bottle, is that considered art? Art is created when an idea is put on paper or some other substrate, but it doesn't make you a great artist, that takes years of mastering your craft.
In the printing industry every element that goes on the page is called artwork, except the photographs, and they are called halftones. That is a whole other topic that will not get into, but is everything created by anyone make them a great artist? I will have to say no.
Was Andy Warhol a great artist? no in my opinion he was not, but that is just that, my opinion, and it really doesn't matter a bit. However, does it make me cringe that he took Marilyn Monroe and added some color to her lips and eyelids and then called it art, does that make it art? Not to me.
Art is subjective and to everyone it means something different. It can be interpreted differently. This is just a blog of this authors ideas, not a book, so I will keep it short. Expand your minds and ask yourself, what does art mean to you?
Art is one of the most important aspects of our lives. From the beginning of time there has been art; on cave walls, on canvas and paper, carved into wood, painted on everything you can think of, but art helps to inspire, to create ideas, to make life better. Almost everyone has that desire to create it. As children we drew on our parents walls and didn't worry if it was good or not, we just had that desire to create. So go out there and create, or just go to the nearest gallery and enjoy the beauty of creation.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
I walked to the opening and knelt down, crawling through a gap in the fence. The first thing I saw was a large trash pile. There were probably fifteen or twenty kids or more that were of different ages, several younger, and a few older than myself. They were sifting through the rubble trying to find something to eat. I noticed a little girl in rags as she squatted over a small food can, reaching her hand in and digging out its contents. I watched the dog trot around the trash pile until he was out of sight. I stood there for several minutes as I watched the scene unfold before me. These kids had been abandoned like myself and this was the only way of survival, to eat from a trash pile. I saw several rats the size of small cats scurrying around the refuse, oblivious to the children who were in competition for the few scraps of food that were left.
I stood leaning against the wooden fence that hid the garbage pile from the rest of the city. The lack of food and water had taken its toll on me and the world began spinning as I fell to the ground. Trying to keep pace with the mangy dog had taken the last bit of energy I had. I began to crawl toward the heap in front of me but the dizziness made me sick and I began to vomit, but there was nothing left for me to throw up. I saw something wrapped in paper as I crawled closer to the trash and as I reached out for the contents that were hidden by the paper a boy who looked about the age of eight stepped on my wrist and I turned loose of my prize.
“I’ll take that”, he said as he reached down and picked the package up. He grabbed me by my hair and turned me over. He then bent down, his face within inches of mine and said, “You don’t eat until the rest of us get what we want,” he paused. “Then you can eat.” I was too weak to offer any resistance. I crawled back toward the fence as the last of my energy began to fade.
Sometime during the night, I awoke, my mind clear as I lay facing the night sky. I tried to get up but didn’t have the energy to move, so I relaxed as I felt my heart began to beat faster and faster. I lay there wondering were my mommy was and what she must be doing. Questions clouded my mind as I lay there, then I must have fallen to sleep.
I woke the next morning and I felt much better, matter of fact, I wasn’t hungry anymore, or thirsty or weak, I felt fine. I stood up and noticed there were kids sleeping all around the dump. One of the kids stood there looking in my direction as I said, “Hi”, but he didn’t answer. I noticed he wasn’t looking at me but behind me. I turned and to my shock I saw myself lying on the ground. “How could this be?” I asked myself out loud. I turned and ran to the young boy who was now standing, looking at my dead body, but he couldn’t see me. I reached out to grab him by the shoulder, but my hand went through his shoulder. I shouted to him but he didn’t answer or acknowledge me. It could only be one thing, I was dead and the only thing on my mind . . . where is my mommy? Would I travel thought eternity searching for her, longing for her embrace?
“In 2004 there were over 143 million orphaned and abandoned children, in 93 developing countries, worldwide. This is 8.4 % off all children in the world.” All I can say is, that is way too many.
Friday, July 21, 2017
Mom turned to face me and tugged at my shirt and picked me up and set me down on the bench that faced the city. She looked me at me for a whole minute and kissed me on the forehead. There was something in her eyes that told me all was not well and we were not there to meet my daddy.
“Wait here and I will get you something to eat,” and with that she turned and walked away. I watched her walk around the building where we had just come from. I sat there for a long time waiting – waiting for her to return but she never did. My stomach started to growl as I stood up and looked all around for my mommy. I ran to the building were we had entered the park but she wasn’t there. The hotdog vendor was still making hotdogs but she was not there either. I ran to the end of the block and looked in all directions but she was nowhere to be found.
I began to cry as I called for my mommy, a mother who had abandoned me in the heart of one of the largest cities in the world. I cried as I walked back to the park and the bench where she left me. I was so hungry but I quickly forgot about being hungry, the fear of being left alone began to fill my little body. I knew no one. I sat on the park bench and cried for what seemed like hours until I had no tears left. My hunger returned as I watched the people walking up and down the street. They seemed not to notice me and the ones that did turned their heads. My head was pounding from the crying and not having anything to eat.
"Is there something wrong with me? And that is why my mommy left me?" I kept asking myself. I desperately tried to think back to see if there was something I’d done, but couldn’t think of anything. Maybe that is why my father left. All I know is . . . I miss my mommy.
It was getting late in the evening when the sun went down behind some buildings and the crickets began singing. My mommy had not returned and it would be dark soon. I had never slept outside before and I was afraid of the dark. Mommy would always leave the door open and a light from the kitchen would shine through into my bedroom across the bottom of my bed. That kept the monsters away, you see, they can’t come into the light. A man dressed in a gray shirt and pants walked with a stool that he would place at the bottom of the light poles and he would light the lamp on the pole and then move to the next.
There were lamp poles located all through the park and my hunger was now replaced with thirst and I walked deeper into the park in search for water. There was a small water fountain and I scooped up handfuls of water, it cool taste quenching my thirst. My stomach was full for now as I looked around. It had been a long day and I was getting tired. I needed some place to rest so I could start looking for mommy in the morning.
I found a secluded spot up a small hill with several shrubs where I could hide. As I approached the shrubs I spotted a small hidden trail leading back into the center and sat down looking up to see the stars, but the light from the city blocked out the stars. As I sat there, I was shaking, not from being cold, but from fear. I was so afraid and I missed my mommy and I must have cried myself to sleep during the night.
* * *
The next morning, I awoke early to find bugs crawling on my jacket. I quickly stood and shook myself free of the dirt and grass and when I combed my fingers through my hair I felt something crawling on my hand. I moved my hand to look and screamed as a spider crawled across my hand and I slung him off. I frantically looked for my hat as I pulled my jacket off to inspect it for more bugs. Bugs didn’t bother me, but spiders did, I was afraid of them. I hated spiders and I didn’t want any part of them, nasty little creatures.
I bent down and crawled back through my hidden access tunnel and knew the first thing to do was find something to eat. I walked back to where the hotdog vendor was and asked him for something to eat but he refused to give me anything, telling me to get lost. I didn’t have to get lost – I was lost; I had been left.
I had never met my grandparents. My mother used to talk about them. How they mistreated her when she was growing up. But now, after thinking about it, that is the way she treats me. I remember one time when we were in a store buying some groceries and a lady in front of us made a comment about what I was wearing. It embarrassed my mother and she told the lady to mind her own business. But when we reached the woods on our way back to our house she put down the groceries and broke a small limb off a tree and began beating me with the switch. I screamed and cried but she didn’t let up. She continued whipping me until she gave out. Through the cries I remember her saying something about embarrassing her. I couldn’t understand why she beat me because of that; she was the one who dress me that morning. Even through all the beatings I still loved my mommy. She was the only thing I had and now I don’t even have that.
I was so hungry and I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from when I spotted a very large rat eating on something wrapped in paper. As I walked toward the rat I spotted a couple rocks and picked them up. I held the rocks up, inspecting them and chose the larger and put the smaller one in the other hand. I moved closer but the rat was not intimidated. I shouted at him but he only looked in my direction and then continued to eat. I knew right then and there it was either the rat or me. I took careful aim and threw the rock hitting the rat, rolling him over. He took off running, looking back at me a couple times before disappearing into a storm drain.
When I knelt down to inspect the bag I found three partially eaten pieces of chicken, a drumstick and two thighs. The drumstick had already been eaten as well as one of the thighs, but the other thigh had hardly been touched except where the rat had been eating. I pulled that away and ate the rest. The drumstick had a small piece of meat still on it, so I ate that and the ends off the bone.
I headed back to the fountain to wash it all down with some water but somehow I got turned around and realized I was lost. I had never been to this side of the park and began to wonder around trying to find some water. I wanted to search for mommy this morning but now I was lost and the further I walked the more lost I became.
After walking for what seemed like hours I came to a pond. I was so thirsty and its water looked inviting, I lay down on my stomach and took a long drink. It was kind of muddy and I could feel the grit in my teeth. I hated that feeling so I took another drink trying to wash the grit out of my teeth but it only made it worse. I tried to wipe my teeth against my shirtsleeve but that didn’t work. I working up a good spit and tried spitting it out and that seemed to help a little. I decided not to drink from that spot anymore. I made up my mind that I would find somewhere else to drink.
As I continued through the park I came to the edge near a street and could see the buildings once again, but it wasn’t the same buildings where my mother left me. I was in a totally different place and I stopped and looked up and down the street. I didn’t know which way to go. There were people everywhere and they all seemed to know where they were going but I didn’t. So I watched the crowd and decided to follow the largest group up the street. The park was on my left and it was the only place I felt any safety. I walked for some time when I noticed my stomach was starting to hurt.
The pains began coming more frequently so I found a small patch of woods when suddenly I became very ill. I began throwing up the only thing I had eaten in the last two days. Even though the day was warm I broke out in a cold sweat and I couldn’t take more than a few steps before throwing up again. I don’t know how it was possible but it seemed to me that I was throwing up more than I had eaten. How was that possible, I asked myself? I continued to throw up until there was nothing left but that didn’t stop the violent gagging.
I cried for what seemed like hours until the sun began to set on the second day. I was weak, sick and frightened and I had no idea where my mother was, would this nightmare ever end?
Sometime during the night I woke to a steady rain. I was soaked to the bone and cold and I knew I had to find some shelter. My hair was matted to my forehead as I stumbled in the darkness looking for some place to get out of the rain. I walked blindly into the night with small limbs scraping against my face as I tried to find someplace safe. Each limb dug into my face causing the blood to mingle with the rain as it slowly painted my face red. I found a small tunnel and crawled into it to get out of the rain but I was soaked and cold as I pulled my legs close to my body, I shivered until I again fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning and looked down and to my horror, there was a rat eating on my shoe. I kicked it away and when it rolled to a stop it just sat up and looked at me, as if it were debating whether to come back and finish the job. I shouted, “GO AWAY,” but that didn’t seem to bother the rat. He looked at me for a couple more seconds and turned, headed back into the tunnel and disappeared into the darkness.
My stomach was hurting and the pain replaced the hunger. I knew that I had to find something to eat, but I wondered now if I would even be able to keep it down or not. I brushed myself off and headed out into the sunlight. Its warm rays hitting my face seemed to help my cramps that seemed to be fading. I staggered as I walked out into an open field and saw the now familiar tops of the surrounding building towering over the tree line. I could hear the sounds of city life as the cars and trucks made their way up and down the street. The sounds of horns blowing and cars backfiring filled the air as I made my way south.
I noticed a mother and her daughter walking, heading in my direction and as they approached the mother took the daughter by the hand and they made a wide berth around me.
Was there something wrong with me? I thought to myself. I looked down and my clothes were covered with dirt and my hands were black. I could only imagine what my face looked like. My eyes were swollen from the crying I did last night. I felt ashamed, alone and frightened.
I continued down the street until it split into two narrower streets. I took the one on the left to what looked like a market street. The street was full of people buying fruits and vegetables, clothing as well as hardware items. I made my way into the crowd of people bumping into each other and slowly made my way further down the street. The smell of food was overwhelming as I passed table after table of food I had never seen before, but the temptation to take something was eating at me. I had never stolen anything in my life but I had no money and I was starving.
Would taking an apple be so wrong? I thought to myself. They would never miss an apple, I mean; it’s just an apple. As I walked past one of the tables I reached out and took the largest apple that was next to me and kept on walking. I took a bite out of it and as I started chewing the piece someone behind me shouted to the merchant, “Hey, that kid just stole an apple.”
The merchant shouted for me to stop, but I took off running with the merchant in hot pursuit. My heart was racing as I dodged in and out of the crowd trying to get away and I just about made it when someone in front of me stuck their leg out and I tripped and went tumbling down the street. I threw my hands up in front of me to catch myself as my face hit hard against the pavement. My eyes were full of tears as my nose began to bleed. Blood trickled down my face as the merchant stopped over me and began beating me with his belt across my back. I rolled over and tried to shield myself but his belt cut into my hands as I tried to protect myself. I began to scream and cry, but this did little to stop my attacker. It seemed to give him great pride to beat me in front of all his patrons. It was only after he tired that he quit his assault.
“Now, you want that apple son?” He asked me, but I did not answer.
“Go ahead, you can have it,” he said as he turned and walked away.
The belt hit me several times across the face and a huge welt formed across my forehead. Blood mingled with tears ran down my face as I picked myself up and headed away from the merchant. I walked past the apple as it lay on the street, but as hungry as I was, I wanted no part of it. Now only was I starved and beaten, I was humiliated. I don’t remember a time in my life that I felt any lower. I made my way down the street two more blocks and found a large box sitting against a building. It had an old rug lying inside and I walked over to inspect the box.
I looked around and there seemed to be no one paying attention to me as I crawled into the box and covered myself with the rug, hiding myself from the world. As I lay there crying I fell asleep once again, my dreams carrying me home. My mother was making biscuits in the oven and I waited at the kitchen table as the smell of fresh bread filled the room. My mouth watered as she handed me a fresh biscuit and I bit down as the warm and inviting taste of the bread filled my mouth. I reached across the table and pulled the butter and a jar of blackberry jam and made me another. I felt at peace I was home, safe and full.
I jolted awake; the afternoon sun was casting shadows on the street in front of my box. The taste of the fresh baked biscuit lingered on my tongue as I looked out of my makeshift shelter. For the first time since my mother left me I felt some resemblance of safety. I watched an old, mangy dog trot by my box on his way somewhere down the street. This piqued my interest; maybe, just maybe he knew somewhere to get something to eat.I climbed out of my shelter, noting its location. I would return later to stay the night; it was the only real shelter I had found so far. I was now getting weaker because of the lack of food. The apple crossed my mind, as I followed the dog further down the street, I wondered if it could still be lying in the street where I had left it. I looked desperately for something to eat. It was becoming harder to keep up with the dog as he continued to trot in front of me. I had to jog to keep up the pace with the dog and I finally stopped, my hand on my stomach. I was too weak to go any further when suddenly the dog stopped and made his way through a wooden fence.