Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Art is Always Important


I walked into Mishawaka Antiques on Saturday just for kicks; just because it was a free-wheeling afternoon and I could. It's one of the best eye candy stops around and it never fails to inspire me, but I didn't expect to be stopped dead in my tracks in the second booth back.

I swung around the corner and it pulled me over by some other-worldly force. I had ventured out for the day to spend pocket change on five-cent rummage-sale dessert plates, not $48 on an unfinished canvas that I couldn't even explain.

I only knew that I loved it. (Just like I did this time.)

My friend said, "You could make that." But then we remembered that #1) I never would and #2) It would look like an untrained monkey made it if I tried. It wasn't my art.

We kept walking and browsing and oohing and ahhing, but my heart was still back at the crazy train. What was that thing? Why did I like it so bad?

I knew all along that it was coming home with me.

So right at the very end, I wound around and I grabbed it.

Standing in the check-out line it started to look even crazier and I wavered, silently, and just a tiny bit. First, it reminded me of The Shining. Then I saw Russell Crowe's A Beautiful Mind character frantically creating it to the tune of the slipping away of his mind.

I saw a red bank barn with a green roof. Hands down. No question.

My friend saw a rose.

We are both pretty sure that it holds a top-secret Homeland Security code. Or the formula for Dr. Pepper.


Walking out with my art, I felt somehow understood by the unknown artist with the propensity for numerical repetition. I appreciated her palette, her perspective, her scrawls.


That's art for you. It'll reel you in and answer a question you never even asked. You'll think about it when you should be sleeping. You'll wonder who created it, and why.


The real truth is, we all love art. It might be oil or pastel. It might be a Mustang with a supercharger. Maybe it's the perfect jump shot. Maybe it's truffle oil barely whispering in the pan. It could be silk cut on the bias or Japanese anime. Maybe it's Beyonce. 

But no matter who we are or where we've been, we recognize the things that know the secret hand-shake of our heart, and sometimes, those things need to live with us.

Woven thin through the middle of my pull to simplify is the simple truth that God created my heart and He created it to respond to the world around it. I'm no longer interested in excess or frivolity. I don't need 99% of the things that I "love" (and there were many that day.) But I can't escape the thought that I'll always need some art, in whatever form it finds me.

What do you think? Have you ever fallen for something unexpected? Lay it on me.