words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

variations | art matters

Over the past few months I have been creating digital artwork within a series called “Variations”. It developed out of a soul-searching experience I had with an exhibit I saw by Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko on display late last year at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina. Memories, dreams, aspirations, magic and loss have all found their way in different forms of expression throughout the series.

One of the developing constructs of the work is how do I relate to the thoughts that exist within the framework of my daily life? I think all of us, artists and non-artists alike, struggle with this and many other questions. One of the questions that has emerged for me is … does art matter? Has it changed anything of any significance in my life? Yes and no. Yes, I long to create. I am pleased with every waking moment that I find the impulse to create. For there has been many days, weeks, months, and even years when the drive to produce art could not be found. It is undoubtably a beautiful thing to shape your craft into self-expression. But to what end? Is there really any escaping the reality of lost things; loved ones who have passed away, beautiful times gone by, aspirations fallen short, collapsed dreams? What weighs more? Art or life? For me, in truth, I create art to either “escape” or find “answers”. No, art does not always save. No real answers here. And maybe that is the point. Perhaps the only meaning to life or purpose for living is to be blessed with the breath of a new day. Then take your pen, or brush, or camera, or whatever serves as your way of expression and try to find that which will give you peace. Even if it is, only for a moment.

7 responses

  1. Hi Walter, I understand your thoughts on art and for the most part I create art for the same reasons you do…and the very weighty thoughts of ‘to what end’ indeed a question for all of life in my view! I feel like nothing can ‘really’ save, however is lifts and lightens. Any lifting and lightening I can get, can only be a help! Always more questions than answers :). Maybe, you may be interested in reading my post ‘Sugar Packet Wisdom – Expectations’. Its not a new subject…just my view on things!! I love your variations series. Take Care – Cari-Ann

    June 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    • Hi Cari-Ann. It is so nice to hear your thoughts here. Looking back to your work, I remember reading your own thoughts on why you create, and I am amazed at our similarities on how we see the ambiguity of our existence and the purpose of our art. And indeed your work is quite beautiful. I will check out the post you referred to, and let you know what I think. Thanks again for your support of my blog. I have been a little absent in returning the favor. But will get there 🙂 peace and Light my friend.

      June 7, 2013 at 12:59 am

      • No worries my friend, life is rather a mysterious thing and sometimes ‘it just happens’. Many similarities to our thoughts and process…its why I enjoy your blog so much. Peace and Light to you too 🙂

        June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

  2. mobius faith

    Nice minimalism and color fields.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

    • Hey Terry, thanks. Did you see my latest video I posted last week? Check it out. Data Complex Nostalgia.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  3. What weighs more? Art or life? I love those questions! I think art can also serve another purpose besides escape and proposing answers…it also serves to connect us to other living beings. Connection is important to life, even in the animal world we find various means of spiritual connection. Art is a wonderful conduit for that.

    July 8, 2017 at 11:41 am

    • Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that art does serve the purpose of connecting us with others. It is a well needed remedy in this particular time in our history. Art does have the ability to “Save”.

      July 11, 2017 at 2:49 am

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