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Politics in the arts — strange bedfellows
Friday, November 12, 2010

Did art choose me or did I choose art?

I’m not sure, but the day I said “I do” I was blinded by love, and hooked.

I soon found out there is another side to the relationship. Did I know what I was getting into? No!

Can I turn away from Art? No way! It’s a part of me. I made my bed and now I must lie in it.

Art is beautiful, caressing, and submissive and wants to be received with a heart that loves her. But that brutish bedfellow called Politics insists on crawling into bed and snuggling up to her with all his sweet talk. Art wants to be loved, be sensitive to the moment and be understood. Politics wants power, money and position and his way. Art cannot and never will satisfy his brutish desires. Strange bedfellows you would say.

When everyday situations occur in the life of Art, she hopes that her beauty will be enough to conquer the heart of the beast. But it is not enough. Politics has one thing in mind, to take over and squash her spirit.

Politics has many names. He is known as Who You Know, I’m In Charge, I’m Bringing My Friends, I’m The Power To Be, Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours, You’re Not Good Enough and I will judge you.

There is a contest going on between Art and Politics, and they are in direct opposition to each other. Art doesn’t feel that her beauty is enough, so she bends to the demands of the beast. Art chases after Politics, she changes her style and dresses to please him, which he insists will make her more appealing for the marketplace. She is trapped, refusing to think for herself. She doesn’t know she is stronger, so she finally surrenders her integrity to the brute and believes that her success depends on Politics.

Art tries to play the game and loses clear judgment and, finally, her purity. She insists that money and her beauty must go together. Sad as it must seem, she doesn’t know how beautiful she is. Art is the keeper of beauty and holds the key to many hearts who love her and understand her. She will never win the fickle heart that she wants so badly to have and to hold with all his money, prestige and power.

I want to tell her, “Run, call a hotline for abused artists. It’s is OK to sleep alone at night. You won’t be going it alone, there are many who are in the same bed who have refused to believe they must play the game.”

At the end of the day, I crawl into my bed and sleep soundly. I’m at peace with the one that I said “yes” to years ago and Politics doesn’t have the hold on me he once did. I love the arts and the artists of this community. We are all learning together. Some paint, some write, some throw pots and some run the show, but we all know who we are.

The Final Brushstroke: We are our worst enemy. We must be careful who we climb into bed with, and who scratches our backs.

Comments from readers

“Slade, OK here are my two cents! I was searching for a thought on your comment ‘We are made to express.’ I came across a quote by Georgia O’Keeffe: ‘I don’t see why we ever think of what others think of what we do — no matter who they are. Isn’t it enough just to express yourself?’

 “I believe artists do a great job of expressing their views as well as their feelings.   They see it as beauty and have the desire for others to see and feel the same. However, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the beauty that the artist sees when painting it, it has now expanded or decreased, for now it is being seen and felt by someone else.

 “You called them ‘bullets.’ They are nothing more than what you felt and saw while expressing yourself. Bullets are only other’s expressions also. So, my Artist Friend, do what you do best. Express! Express! And express some more, so that others may have expressed beauty to behold and thereby expressions go on and on.

From your New Mexico Friend,

Love your expressions!

Please e-mail and send in your comments and commentary to bettyslade@centurytel.net. We will pass it on to the other artists of Pagosa.

Quote for Week

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso.