Sunday, March 30, 2014

For the Best

Addison ParksVIKING FUNERAL (2014), oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches

I like dreams, but not because they are better than the waking world, but because they make the waking world better. Most times even when they are bad. Dreams make me think, make me muse, make me grow. They tell me about what I am thinking about, and what I am not thinking about. They speak to me.

Which is why I like art. I like art in the same way that I like dreams. Art and dreams add something to what I already like about life. I like seeing and thinking and feeling and learning. And I like doing, which is what makes making art so much the better. 

We usually say that everything turned out for the best when we think things started out badly. We accept that the universe knew better in the end. We embrace the words of Mick Jagger. Because you can't always get what you want. But! 

Wouldn't it be nice if we were wise enough to know this from the start? That things turning out for the best was something we could see coming so that we didn't crash and burn when we felt denied? A sixth sense.

As a friend of mine started going through a painful separation and divorce recently it ended up bringing my own terrible experiences with divorce back to me. It started when my friend's wife assured him that things would turn out for the best. I was alarmed that she would tell him that, but it made me think about it. 

If my own parents had never divorced I never would have been able to do the thing that made me happiest, painting. My father tried to talk me into doing something else right up to his dying day at age 93. If I had lived with him instead of my mother he would have punished me for painting more than he already tried to do from afar. I am pretty sure I could not have survived that.

Furthermore he ended up living in London for most of the rest of his life, with a sports car that could not fit any of his six children comfortably, and that made him very happy. My mother got to live in Rome for twenty plus years and that made her very happy, and my brothers and sisters for the most part got to live where they liked and do what they liked, and that made them happy. It worked out for the best. I was shocked to finally think so. 

The same had to be said for my own divorce. My ex-wife and I both lead happy and fulfilling lives now that we couldn't have lived together. So much for all the pain and guilt and sense of failure and loss. What a waste of time!

It might be difficult to justify art in a world miserable with suffering, but misery does not make things better. There was never a suicide for no good reason. Self pity or a grudge for no good reason. An addiction or alcoholism for no good reason. A vendetta for no good reason. Good reasons abound. They are just never good enough. Never. And that is what we have to remember deep inside, so that when those reasons come knocking, as they always do, some little voice will save us, our sixth sense will guide us through.

So I believe that art in fact makes things better, and that is not just good enough for me, it is actually great!

Addison Parks,
Artdeal, 2014

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