Why are we so drawn to some works of art, literature, architecture, musical composition/song, or anything that seems to capture the attention of people? A variety of reasons. Some people don’t think beyond “It’s beautiful” or “I never saw anything like it.” And sometimes, that’s just enough. Of course, I always have to “find meaning,” which is just me. And that’s okay, too.
Beauty surrounds us, and I would make the plea to look for those works that exceed the average. For instance, I look on a mechanic or an auto body repair person who really know their shit as artists, the kind of craftsmen who perform so easily and effortlessly that I just have no question that they are truly experts, artists, and they are in flow with the nature of their work. They inspire confidence and appreciation. I can see this in anyone performing their job in an excellent way. I love encountering such folks.
Some people, though, that function in the arts, produce works that are viewed as world class. I want to share about one of those that appeal to me in such a way: Dale Chihuly. Chihuly is an artist who works mostly in glass. His creations evoke strong reactions from me.
In St. Petersburg, Florida, the Chihuly Museum boasts rooms filled with his expressions in the magical stuff that is glass — a virtual separate state of matter, combining properties of both liquids and solids, an in-between state as it were. Nothing else like it. Like I said, magical — just one of those things that intrigues me. One room there is devoted to one display, the “Mille Fiori.” A thousand works of glass throughout the color spectrum. It’s a forest of glass, vivid, living forms and arrangements of trees and flowers and insects and animals. Unbelievable. I stayed in that room for a long time over several visits.
What makes a great artist, a world-renowned artist? To me, it’s one who uses their chosen medium in a way that captures the flow, spirit, and vibrational energies of the Universe. And they just make me smile, or sometimes shed a tear or twenty if they are truly enchanting. Dale Chihuly sees organic form in every molten blob of glass; he sees his medium in relationship to Nature, sensing what that glowing mass yearns to become. He works the violets, blues, reds, yellows, oranges, greens, and so many colors of glass until he sees the moment, the exact point that it has become what he envisions, and boom! He cools it into art — world class art.
Just like works of literature, artistic expressions in any form, if they are true art, yield deeper insights into life, help us to appreciate life, and for me, create a thankful heart. And yes, they are just awesome to view, listen to, or interact with, and they help me think about our world, humanity, the universe. Sometimes, I wonder what artists like Chihuly think about as they are working, creating masterpieces, because unlike those who view their work, they think about what they are doing for long stretches of time. Their productions show what they have gleaned about life and themselves in relation to all.
And maybe such great works of art are so because they inspire us to look around our lives and see the beauties and wonders around us, to be an organic, vital, unified whole with this world, with one another, with all of this creation. Yes, I want to be like that, sensing the vibrations and energy of life each and every day.
And that makes me wonder: How can you or I express what we see and value and sense about life in our work every day? How can we be artists in that sense?