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July 12, 2006

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JHepCat

"To comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable."

I first heard this as the credo and mission of psychotherapists, and psychiatrists, but have since learned (from Dr Mardy Grothe, http://chiasmus.com/) that it's attributable to Finley Peter Dunne, who wrote a series of sketches in the Chicago Tribune in the early 20th Century featuring an Irish saloon keeper who saw it as a saloon keeper's job.

I do believe it's the job of art to tell the truth, but that can be extremely jarring to a great many people, and standing up to that jarring is a daunting task.

Being twenty or thirty years ahead of your time isn't easy, but it is at least one job of art.

Another job of art,related to the opening quote of this post--and also from Dr. Mardy Grothe's weekly newsletter--I close with this philosophical kernel from William James:

"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
William James


Kammie K.

“There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it.”
Henry Moore

This may sound a bit "woo-woo", but I like to think that we're all "life-artisits". So for me, the job of art is to evoke emotion, push buttons, trip wires, raise awareness, create dialogue, allow us to truely see through someone else's eyes.

As a child I would get upset that I wasn't an "artist" in the classic sense. I wasn't very good at painting, drawing, sculpture...the classic studio arts. But as I evolved, I began to realize that living life to it's fullest, focusing on my passions is really the whole point isn't it?

I recently visited the St. Louis Art musem and an amazing exhibit -
http://www.stlouis.art.museum/remoteviewing/noflash.php. In Remote Viewing - the artisits share their perspectives on life...past, present, future - spirituality, technology, science, & personal mythologies. They had an iPod tour along with it so you could gain the perspective of the artisits as you viewed it.

Having hit a creative brick wall that day, I took a spontaneous trip to the musem with a good friend. What was the "job of art" that day? To provide me with insight that this magnificent Universe is much larger than you and I, that people come from their own perception, that life is a rainbow of flavors and emotions, and that if I open up to it, my LIFE is "living art".

I'd say art does a top-notch job!

Living juicy in STL,
Kammie K.

Lilly Fluger

The job of art is to delight self.

Janet Barclay

My idea of the 'job' of art has always been - simply to make us look at and think about things from a different perspective - including shaking people out of their complacency and snap judgements. But why do we stare at a burns victim? I think it is probably human nature to be curious about someone who looks so different - it's probably an instinct going back to the dawn of time, in case we need to fight or flee from someone different from what we recognise as 'normal'. On the most basic level, these paintings give an opportunity to satisfy our curiosity about fire survivors without upsetting them. On another level, the artist has done a brilliant job of showing the humanity of these people, and the real people behind the 'masks' that we see at first glance. Maybe next time we see a burns victim we can see straight through to the person underneath - result!

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