This is something I wrote in response to today's Robert Genn Twice Weekly Art Letter. He was talking about geopolitical art and its importance in the art world today. As usual, I had an opinion on the topic.
I have never agreed that artists should be overtly political, in their artistic expression or in the rest of their lives. I think it's like everything else; statements are made with differing degrees of intensity. Some artists are consumed by their need to express social and political views, while others have nothing at all to say about such matters, with a world of varying expression in between.
And then there are those who create art to counter the social and political ugliness around them.
I'm one of those inverse-political artists. While my art would never be called political, it is a frank reaction to the state of the world. In order to bear it all, I have to focus on what is right and good with this world. I notice the fantastic beauty I find around me every day, in even the humblest of objects, and I seek to translate that beauty into art. My goal is to enable the viewer to transcend the madness and desperation around us. Nothing is all bad, after all.
I think Picasso was right when he said, "If everyone would paint, political re-education would be unnecessary." If everyone were to focus on the beauty and wonder of our universe in order to paint it, a lot of the ugliness would fall away. There just wouldn't be time for it all.