here's an article of mine that just got published in our newspaper.
if you look at this and go, "Woah, not reading all that."
I'll be back with pretty pictures soon, promise.
I wrote this article after a day in Chelsea to visit the galleries
with two of my dearest friends.
Just a little reflection.
Art and Tumblr (and Life?)
Disclaimer: This is not a manifesto against a blogging site that allows people to catalog images, thoughts, and various other gems that they find inspiring, beautiful and self expressive. This is also most definitely not a manifesto against art via various physical mediums. This is a call to creativity beyond a canvas, beyond a camera, and beyond instruments. This is a call to live life as a catalog of inspiring moments. This is a call to choices that we feel express us well- especially as children of the living God, redeemed and new people.
In recent months, I have discovered tumblr, a blogging engine that provides its users the ability to quickly assemble defining collages. Sometimes these blogs are about something specific- an actress idolized, a certain PBU professor quoted, a specific flower even. More often though, I find that these blogs are used to create a picture of an ideal life. Greater than the sum of their parts, these tumblrs describe with the click of their “curator’s” mouse the life their users wish they had. Glamorous, preppy, rebellious and free, there is a tumblr for all kinds of aspiration.
While I’m positive that not all tumblr users find themselves immersed in the cyber-sea of floating images and ideas 24/7, it is remarkably addictive. I don’t have one, and while some sites abuse their free reign of internet space, there are some very beautiful blogs that are hard to stop scrolling through. I’ve been thinking though, about how tumblr users (and other bloggers) choose the images and selections to define them. It’s expressive of who they are. It’s immediately visible and constantly changing, fast paced and quickly visually gratifying. For many people it’s piecing together, picture by picture, song by song, quote by quote, who they want to be.
On a related note, (and it is related, bear with me) I’ve been thinking about something Mako Fujimura said on his most recent visit to PBU about finding one’s medium as an artist. Can people without typical artistic abilities like drawing, writing poetry, and beautiful voices create art? Can scientists and history teachers and people who think math is riveting create pieces which inspire and reveal the depth of the human experience to others in new ways?
I think tumblr is a good metaphor with which to answer these questions. If we collect images and quotes and inspiration to place on an online bulletin board, can’t we collect choices and experiences and value and place them on the canvas of our lives? And any cyber-inspiration board should pale in comparison to the lives we choose to live. As people with an eternal and ultimate purpose, the ever mutating picture our lives cast should point to a living God.
We all have the ability to create pieces of art which inspire, which call others to big and deep questions, which shed light on truth and life. The choices that we make and the experiences that we have can layer on the canvases of our lives to create a complex, multidimensional masterpiece that points to the glory of Christ, much like Fujimura’s work. We must seek to enjoy scripture, intellectual pursuit, creative outlets, and relationships in a very intentional way. We must be present in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, we must curate the galleries, paint the canvases, and choose for the tumblrs of our lives in a way that glorifies God and enjoys the abundant life he gives.