Rob Bailey: Run with scissors!

Published 5:36 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

Art has many facets. Art can be serious, flippant, and comedic. One of the joys of art is that it can depict different emotions for different audiences. Recall the interpretations of the music of your youth from your perspective and that of your parents!
Art has lifted many people to higher heights. The classic works of beauty produced by such artists as da Vinci, van Gogh, Michelangelo, Monet, Picasso, Dali, and Renoir have been appreciated for many years. The musical works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky have been admired and listened to for years. All of these works will be appreciated for eons to come.
Art may also be expressed within dance, theater, literature, sculpture, and photography, to name a few. Our society has a passion for comics and the subsequent films that have been flooding Hollywood. Art evolves with mankind. Even graffiti, which was once considered vandalism, is now seen as a form of art.
Art pervades society at all levels. Art has insidiously entered not just what we see and hear, not only what we admire and tap our foot to, but also what we read. Beyond the concepts of stories and literature, art has contributed to language itself. Here are some common phrases and idioms you may use while unknowingly boosting the world of art!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The idiom dates back before the time of Christ, stating that we all see things differently. In other words, beauty is subjective. This concept is not limited to art, but admiration of anything. As one looks at a painting or listens to a song, realize that art means something different for each of us. Revel in your art or your interpretation of the art. For example, one of the best lines ever written in a rock and roll song was “Although my eyes were open, they might just as well have been closed,” which comes from Procol Harum’s song A Whiter Shade of Pale. But that is my opinion and your favorite lyrical line may be entirely different. Similarly, we all think different actors and actresses present varying ideals regarding beauty. To each his or her own; for beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
A picture is worth a thousand words. This is another idiom from the world of art that traveled into common dialogue. While some understand the idiom to mean the boiling down of thousands of words into a photograph or symbol, I tend to consider the opposite notion. A photo, painting, or drawing is loaded with ideas and meaning that it would take a thousand words to describe. One characteristic of visual art is the ability to rapidly convey emotion, detail, and information in a single glance. Considering the realm of memory, one may easily find a thousand words to share an image of a loved one. Similarly, in a courtroom one picture may certainly relay a thousand words.
Paint the town red. While the etymology of the phrase remains debatable, the image presented by the phrase and the common understanding is not the same. In man’s history someone may have run through a town with a brush and bucket full of red paint. In actuality, the term refers to a night of raucous intoxication. With the current rates of occurrence, restrictive (and needed) laws, and steep penalties tempering such behavior, one hopes painting the town red is literal rather than idiomatic. So, leave out your wagon for a fresh coat of paint.
Another artistic phrase, coming from the world of music is: To strike a chord. This phrase brings us to a convergence of emotion and art. In striking a chord one finds a commonality or connection between events, images, or objects. Beyond social interactions and hitting it off with someone, listening to a piece of music or viewing a piece of art can strike a chord. The implication is the evocation of an emotional response usually associated with memory. To press the point, by reading this article you may strike a chord with English class!
As we carry along though life we may realize that something typically not artistic is, in fact, a work of art. The phrase “work of art” is a gracious tip of the hat to the world of art. Someone may read an article in the paper and proclaim it a work of art. Or one may look at a car, a kitchen design, or sunset and proclaim either to be a work of art. Art may pervade all aspects of life. For some of us it does constantly and consistently and we see many things as works of art.
Please do not let your actions or products in life be banal. Be creative in all you do. Do not create goods or services that are paint-by-number. Paint-by-number is predictable and mechanical. Be creative so no one looks at you or your life stating, “He was a paint-by-number kind of chap.” The world is too full of individuals who want to take the popular or easy way. Be unique and not paint-by-number.
Finally, keep in mind that art is a wonderful world open to all of us. From the time we are young we are taught to draw, paint, color, sing, and dance. Pens and crayons took us to places no car or plane could. And they still may take us far beyond from where we live. So, please be a bit reckless, unique, and carefree from time to time and run with scissors. Especially when it comes to art: Run with scissors!

Rob Bailey is president of the Americus-Sumter County Arts Council.