Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Face of Beauty

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Take a minute and listen, that roar in the background is not the surf pounding on the rocks, its the never-ending screams of all the visual media trying to tell you the answer to that old fairy tale question, “Who is the fairest of them all?”

See there’s a tiny little problem with all of this hype and moaning, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I know two clichés in less than four paragraphs, must be some sort of record but there are times when a good cliché just does more to tell the story than ay amount of logic.

So what is beauty?

Beats the hell outta me, oh I have a really good idea of what beauty is for each one of about a hundred categories. That’s the best I’ve been able to do trying to narrow it down for sixty plus years.

See I happen to think that there is no universal beauty. You can shorten the odds by picking a tight category. There are pets, or even cats which are very different from dogs or children which can be ever so cute or the most terrifying little monsters conjured up from the depths of Dante’s hell.

Sunsets are beautiful and you may have noticed snow is pretty well…pretty. There are cars which make you sigh, girls who make you gasp, sports heroes who make you cheer, scholars who amaze you with their knowledge, there’s so many things which make for beauty that it is impossible to work out which of them could begin to be the fairest of them all.

Kim Wurster makes birds look pretty good and if I ever own a boat I want it to be one of the ones Dutch paints, Jean Kyle makes flowers and birds, (Again?), look a lot better than they do in real life, and S. L. Donaldson make everything real or not look a lot better than it ever could with the naked eye.

So how do you go about figuring out what is the fairest of them all?

I haven’t a clue.

I can tell you some of what makes me stop and gasp, but that will just work for me. Abby Wambach, Captain America of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team can wind my watch any day, so does Jenny Finch and Danica Patrick, but that won’t help you.

I love cars, not the big, loud, chrome monsters of the Fifties but the sleek, sculptured designs which come along once in a decade and carry single names like Ferrari, Avanti, Riveria, Cord, and Auburn. Thanks Steve McQueen but I’ll take a boat-tailed Speedster over a Shelby Cobra any day and you can’t tell me Miami Vice would have been such a huge hit if Sonny had driven a Nash Metro and not a Testa Rossa.

Did you know that Bigfoot has its own agent? No silly, not the hairy creature lurking in the woods but the fire-breathing, earth-shaking, monster of all monster trucks. Yes, that Bigfoot. And you’ll forgive for saying so but it is a real beauty. Just turn the volume up really high the next time Bigfoot is on the Tube and wait. There will be a moment of silence, then the hammer of an iron heart coming to life and then the thunder of the exhaust and that big, blue, pagan-God in truck form comes roaring out of the tunnel and kids grab for their parents and men grab for their wives cause this ain’t something for sissies, this is Bigfoot!

You already know I have a thing for quaint mechanicals. I like old cameras and old guns and old cars and even some old gals. ‘Scuse me, Angelina and Julia, but you are gonna have to rock it a lot harder if you want to keep up with Cassandra Peterson, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and hotter than ever after turning sixty. Speaking of the Medicare set, Ann Archer just got her Medicare card and can sizzle like no twenty year old and the television trio, Marg Helgenberger, Dana Delany and Sela Ward have some spring left in their shocks.

But that still doesn’t help you a bit, cause in the end it is all my opinion and while I count that for a whole bunch you might just think I’m full of potassium nitrate. (Talk to the chem. Teacher at Marshfield High, he’ll explain it)

Who is the fairest of them all?

It’s like they say about elections, if you don’t get out and vote you don’t get to complain. And in this election you vote with your work.

Maybe you think grave stones are the cat’s meow. I’m not so sure but they could be. But if you aren’t using them in your work they’ll never get counted.
Don’t like what’s on television? It’s your own fault, you have to watch to count and if you aren’t watching something you can’t get counted. The same is true for your art; if you aren’t flogging your idea of beauty it won’t get counted. And that would be a shame.

The artist is the single most influential force in any generation. It is the artist who says, the Greek Gods looked like this, or the women of the middle ages looked like this or Venice looked like this or this is what Guernica looked like after the bombing, you weren’t there but I bet because of an artist you know exactly what the Roman Senators looked like.

This is your chance to get up on your soapbox and tell the World I think this. You don’t have to shout or scream or wave your hands about, just make art and let the work tell your story.

Nope you won’t put Kim Kardashian out of work. But maybe you’ll show just one kid that being obvious isn’t being gifted. You gotta stand up and be counted or be left out and that would be a crime.

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