My First Found Object Art Project

I was a youngster the very first time I ever used a found object to create a work of art. I woke up one morning practically strangled by a loose string on the edge of my blanket. When I ripped the yarn from around my neck, I was holding a long, pink, tapered string.

I got out of bed, took a cereal box out of the trash and grabbed a pair of scissors. I cut out a life-size silhouette of a rat. I used the point of the scissors to stab a hole in the chipboard where the tail would be. I stuck the wide end of the string through the hole and tied a knot in it so it wouldn’t slip out. The pink strand of blanket material was tapered in such a way that it looked exactly like a rat tail.

I showed it to Mom & Dad and they thought it was genius.

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Anti-Semantic Magic

Close-up of Moss insect: one of the world’s most wondrous creatures

I posted a survey on facebook the other day which included this statement and question:
“It’s been said that art and craft are magical, but not magic.
I believe that makes no sense… nothing can be magical without magic. What do you think?”

One of my favorite answers was:
“Too woohoo for me.”

While I don’t consider the pragmatic mind a deficit, I truly feel for those who don’t experience the magic of life. For those who have been taught that magic “just ain’t right” due to exposure to religious dogma or those who equate magic only with rainbows, unicorns, fairies and anything else unmanly… I write this treatise in hopes that you will discover that magic is very much alive and present in your life and that it’s okay to accept, utilize and appreciate this magic.

Semantics enter the picture here in a very BIG way. Semantics in this instance means that people assign more than one meaning to a word. This can cause confusion and sometimes disagreement. I consider myself anti-semantic, because I’m not comfortable with ambiguity to the extent that people can’t understand one another when speaking the same language. I accept the principle of semantics, I’m just not a fan of how it breeds misunderstandings.

“Magic” means many things to many people. I’m going to approximate my definition so that you’ll see the logic behind my assertion.

“Because we have imagination, magic is inevitable.”

Magic to me is anything that makes us wonder. Here is a short list of such things:

  • Magnets
  • The colors and designs of stones, flowers, and insects
  • Flight
  • The love our pets share with us
  • Sleeping babies
  • Sunsets and Sunrises
  • Nature
  • The number nine

These things often get me wondering. Often when I witness them, I am in awe or I feel some very deep emotions. Magnets make me curious. Why do they attract? Our best scientists cannot answer why they attract, they can only come up with amazing uses for their mysterious qualities.

Whenever you multiply the number nine and add the digits together the sum is always nine. Nine times nine equals eighty-one, eight plus one is nine (9×9=81, 8+1=9). It works every time no matter which numbers you use with the number nine.

These things that just are, are extraordinarily magical.

We might say that there are levels of magic (or things that make us wonder) ranging from the mundane, everyday variety to the undeniably miraculous.

The highest, most purest form of magic, in my opinion, is making things. In the illusory world of stage magicians, one turns a bouquet of flowers into a bird that flies out of the magician’s hands. Creators take raw materials and behold! Before your very eyes the raw materials transform into something beautiful, whimsical, or extremely¬†contemplative.

This is magic. It exists, it surrounds us and the world is a better place for it.

Imagine for a moment that you had no imagination. Seriously! Like you had no facility for thinking about how things might be. Imagination is the exclusive tool that generates reality. As I often say, everything that exists now was once just an idea in somebody’s imagination. Because we have imagination, magic is inevitable.

If my assertion is true and magic is a natural part of our everyday lives and instrumental for the ongoing benefit of our species, what could ever make it “too whoohoo”?

What do you think?

“Affordable Art”

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I just passed a frame shop that had the words “Affordable Art” in mirrored vinyl on its window.

I felt a strange tension. The same strange tension that I feel when I try to imagine art as commerce.

Art is something that is created from a person’s imagination and it’s interesting to me that I have a hard time bridging the gap between commerce and something that’s created from someone’s imagination. Because all things created come from the imagination.

Inventions, all inventions, whether intended as a source for commerce or not, come from imagination. Architecture, technological devices, home decor, automobiles, medical equipment, etc., etc. they are all made up in a person’s imagination.¬† They’re all designed before they can come into reality. In fact, I would venture to guess that artwork played a part in the completion of their design before they came into reality. At some point the invention was drawn or sketched or rendered.

So where have I picked up the stigma that art is not to be sold or labeled “affordable?” Better said, why does it cause tension in me when I imagine art as something mundane or profane enough to be labeled “affordable?”

Somehow I have elevated art in my mind as something that is created from a Spiritual place rather than an earthly one. I have imagined art to be a gift from Heaven as opposed to a utility from Wal-Mart.

I have to ask myself, “Did this belief about art as Spirit-borne come from societal training?” or am I alone in this opinion?

And this is where all these thoughts lead; if art, an invention of the mind, is from Spirit then aren’t all inventions from Spirit?

I mean really we have only one way to reconcile the differences. Either we bring art down to the level of the mundane or we bring the mundane up to the level of art.

Or is the real crux of the matter the fact that art does not have a utility (outside of being something to admire)?