January 31, 2013


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Art transcends time.

image of a circular spiral graphic pattern

This thought has been rattling around in my head for almost 20 years. It may sound obvious. Possibly too simplistic. But is it important, I think, for those of us who want to impact others through what we create:

Art transcends time.

I’ve been thinking more about art and time lately because I see art and our artistic pursuits becoming more disposable. We create it faster, digitize it faster, merchandise it faster, and distribute it faster than ever before. We rush to get it out there—to get it noticed, because now more than ever, we can be noticed.

All of that can be good. All of it can allow for wider reach and impact that wasn’t really possible before. But what if it doesn’t last? What if we are cheapening it and ourselves by the race? What if it just becomes another thing to be consumed in a moment and cast aside? Fast food for the brain.

The first time I pondered art and time was in college, sitting in a museum and staring at one of my favorite paintings. It was a landscape. I can’t even remember the artist, but I remember that painting. I came back to it often. You could say it became my friend of sorts. I would sit and think “This was painted 150 years ago and it moves me today.” The artist is long dead. The moment in time he depicted is long gone. But the connection endures—a connection that transcended life and death, time and space.

That connection is why I am an artist today. My medium changes. My audience changes. My hope, well, my hope is that my art (and my life) reaches someone like that artist did me so many years ago. It doesn’t matter what his name was, just as it doesn’t matter what mine is. All that matters is the meaning.

So, my friends, in this disposable world we live in, what are you creating that you think will last the test of time? What are you creating that will make a connection long after you are gone? For some of you, it will be your children. For others, it will be your business or your art. Hell, maybe a life well lived is enough to send ripples of influence out into the world. Maybe it will encourage others to do the same. Who knows?

Do you know?

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  • http://www.terrencemoline.com Terrence Moline

    I’ve been thinking about the same thing. We create a lot of art on the computer. If our civilization ends, what will be recovered and how would the recoverers sort through all of the data to find out what was important? Sometimes I think art in the traditional sense it gone. Other times, I realize how important it still can is.

    • http://www.fangmandesign.com mattfangman

      Thanks for the comment Terrence and sorry for my late reply(was having email and website migration issues for weeks).

      I agree with you—the computer (and all technology for that matter) has pros and cons to the impact on our lives and our art. It’s the speed, and sometimes shallowness that I wonder about. It takes time to dig deep into a topic. It takes time to clarify a thought or belief.

      Maybe we all just need to slow down and simplify.

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