Michael Divine

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Art Making in Times of Trial

“What is the point of making beautiful things, or of cherishing the beauty of the past, when ugliness runs rampant?”

Alex Ross – Making Art in a Time of Rage

I’ve seen multiple pieces, posts, inquiries regarding the act of art making when times are tough. When people are marching in the streets, when the freedoms, rights, and liberties you live with every day seem to be snatched away, who are you – who am i? – to sit here painting, writing, doing this creative act which seems a step or two removed from the direct actions others are taking every day? Where do people draw their battle lines and where are the front lines? Am I less engaged because I am not out there fighting, yelling, demanding that, for instance, my streams not be sullied with the debris of coal companies?

Look, here’s the true existential question every artist struggles with every day: “what is the point?” (or its variations: for the love of god and all that is holy why am i pushing this paint aligning these pixels staring at that serif when there is so much injustice in the world)

Because to create is to live. And to make art is to be a light in the world expressing what it is to be human. If you give up, if WE give up, then we allow the darkness to win.

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