Friday, May 17, 2013

Human beings...

...made this stuff?  Something I kept thinking to myself while in Florence, Italy this past week.  Walking around seeing the architecture, sculptures and art on every corner, made years ago by both masters (like Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, etc.), and by so many other artists as well, unnamed, yet having created work that stops you in your tracks and leaves your eyes and mouth wide open.

So much art, and good stuff too.  And really, all made by humans, just like us.  Did they know they were creating objects that would dominate the cultural landscape in a way that keeps us making pilgrimages to see it in the real?  And honestly, forget for a moment the ones that live in the art history books (i.e., Michelangelo's 'David'), there is so much more to see, art made by unknown artists, small and large sculptures, paintings on ceilings and doorways, and architecture for the everyday person.

Now I must say that I have had this same thought over the years from previous trips made here and there, so it was not the epiphany that one might think.  But still, it underscores the theme I am working on here, and that is all of this great stuff, in places across the globe, was made by human beings.  Sort of intimidating, don't you think?  As example, the Duomo in Florence, with its incredible arch (, together taking nearly 150 years to construct, provides evidence of both genius and patience.  Thinking back on a previous post of mine titled 'Working Slow', I am reminded of how important it is to be patient when making art.  It takes time!   

But back to the human being part of this post.  I find myself thinking about the art I see today, some of my own as well, and trying to frame it within a time and place, and wondering aloud if it has the backbone to withstand the test of time?  Sometimes being old, both in our lives and our art, is in itself not a bad thing...but the road to getting there is what wears us out.

So again, nearly 150 years to create the Duomo...the arch 16 years alone. Working slow?  You bet.  Being patient?  You bet.  And believing in your vision and having the courage to stick with it?  You bet!  There's a lesson in these walls of Florence, a lesson that has withstood the test of time, and keeps teaching us today.  As the British say...Keep Calm and Carry On!  Mainly though, keep making stuff, especially stuff that germinates from a place deep within, after all, we are only human beings searching for our voice in what we make, hoping it offers something meaningful to those who follow.

Duomo in Florence. Italy

Giotto's Bell Tower