"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"All Art is Propaganda" George Orwell

Opening up into our valley on the walk home...Salmon River
in the distance.
Coming down the mountain...
Bob with three of our four dogs - Micky is probably in the
waterfall to the right:-)
We live on the right hand lower slope of Mt. H'Kusam
I want to thank those of you who had such gracious comments regarding my post of yesterday. I only know you through this blog and your blogs but it has come to be a meaningful community to me as I think it has for you. I allowed myself to drift into a perilous mood and expressing it in my blog was possibly not wise but it is how I am sometimes. Reading a compilation of Orwell's essays called All Art is Propaganda, by George Packer, intro by Keith Gessen. This is a statement Orwell made several times in his writings. So much thought from the 1930's feels so relevant these days. There was a definite political correctness influencing artists and writers of that time; "Anyone sensitive enough to be touched by the zeitgeist was also involved in politics."
"It was a time of labels, slogans, and evasions. At the worst moments you were expected to lock yourself up in a constipating little cage of lies; at best a sort of voluntary censorship." Anything that wasn't anti Fascist was suspect (not that being Fascist is a great idea!) but the point was there was a lot of censorship going on and stifling of free thought. "It is inconceivable that good novels should be written in such an atmosphere. Good novels are not written by orthodoxy-sniffers, nor by people who are conscious-stricken about their own unorthodoxy. Good novels are written by people who are not frightened." The same holds for all the art forms. In this current political climate there are slogans and projected suppositions regarding ecology, human rights,
animal rights, and what it means to live an "authentic" life. I admit to being on the side of Democratic Socialism...I like having a government who cares about the health and well being and education of its citizens but one who does not infringe on the rights of that citizenry to think and act freely without fear. This is a tricky balance. In every time of history there are complicating and mitigating factors that influence and push events. Artists need to feel free because they are the canaries in the mine so to speak. They hold up a mirror for everyone to see into if they choose to. Even art I don't care for or ideas I don't believe in have a right to be out there. Thus, I do try to be honest but understated in my own work. I don't really want current ideologies to be plastered in my face but I don't want anyone telling me or any artist what to paint or write or dance or act...My pain is for all those in other places struggling to have that right...to just be who they are without persecution, (accepting, of course those who for whatever reason are inclined to seriously anti-social and psychopathic behavior - even full blown anarchists don't want gunslingers and barbarians at the door! Question: Can a violent psychopath be helped?). Here, in our "relatively" peaceful Western society, though, certain notions are stifled and big corporations seem to be financing a lot of worrisome things all in the name of the bottom line. I like to consume stuff too - I grew up in a consumer society, but I know when it is over the top. That is why I am finally finding that I need much less than I used to think, and it is a big relief. Look at the photos above of where I get to live. Our home is modest, our income low, but we live in a spectacular place as yet unspoiled and I am frightened that soon there will be no place like it left. If "all art is propaganda" than I hope to propagandize the idea that, when we are fed, housed, healthy, free, educated, (and I mean REAL food, not MacFood, human scaled and sensitively designed homes and work places, education that is open ended, open minded, and thought provoking, and health care that is fully available without bankrupting you) and mostly that we are kind to one another "all we have is all we need." Gee, I don't ask for much, do I...


  1. Hello again "You"!... It is not too much too ask... to have Peace and the right to express your opinions, ideas, truths without fear of persecution... condemnation or censorship!

    When "One" finally feels comfortable in their own skin... and can live out their "authentic life" unfettered by the expectations of others... then one is truly free!

    In seeing your wonderful environment in which "You" live, love and work... I sense that "You" have achieved what so many others will seek till the end of their lives... but sadly... will never find or recognize.

    Revealing your Self in the way "You" have could be considered "dangerous or foolhardy"... to some.

    But to those of "Us"... who have faced similar trials... but have used our own courage, determination and will to deal with our difficulties... it is a "declaration of independence" from the shackles of consumerism and the false sense of reality that is pervasive in most areas of Western Society.

    Your honesty and courage to be open... and to share even your vulnerabilities is admirable to "Me"... and commendable. If only there were more like "You"... who cared too much... gave too much...but asked for so little... the world could be better.

    "I" join hands with "You"... to reach out to others to risk sharing the responsibility to be Truthful... and to care about others and the beautiful Eden we have been given stewardship for.

    "I" am creative... Truthful... loving... and care about my brothers and sisters... and this Earth. "I" am also Bipolar... but feel no shame because... "I" choose to live "authentically" with it and work with... and against it to achieve Peace and Happiness. I achieve this largely through my painting and the love and support of my family.

    "I" am truly blessed!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  2. Wow, Bruce. Thank you for that and for having the courage to speak about your feelings also. I understand about bipolar illness...my Mother suffered from it...I got the depressive part of the illness as has my son. It takes a lot of courage to keep going some days when you're dealing with things that are going on in your head. I can see how you and your family have found a way to live authentically and I congratulate you! As you said, so many will seek this but never find it. Feeling much better now!