“Cliff” 40×30 Acrylic on Paper
Should the good of the one be sacrificed for the good of the many?
This is such an old philosophical question. In the Bible for example there are many quotes where Jesus commands you to: ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor…” This question was modernized in the movie Star Trek when Spock states, “logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” This debate between what is logical/reasonable versus what is human continues today. Let me use art as an example to illustrate this point.
Do we as artists fight for the one, ourselves, or the many? It was be a very had task to fight for the many if the self and it’s soul are not known. There are “many” who count on this. They count on their ability to be the shepherd of a flock and allow the herd to follow, without thinking.
Artists, it they sincerely believe in art as something unique and original need to work with the idea of finding themselves and their souls and when we find our self our soul we will find it very easy to help others too to find their lost souls and selves. We, no matter who we are, can never find the soul, the self of another, that is work that they alone need to do. So when Jesus said, “you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor,” it was not to take away their freedom to find themselves it was to help them find themselves.
The contemporary form of thinking about giving a hand to those in need can be illustrated through the phrase “one for all and all for one.” Currently this phrase leans toward one for all, or the many, and has become a form of herd thinking because it omits the second part of that sentence, and all for one. The fight for the soul always begins with the discovery of the self. A good work of art always exposes this self. And an artist always needs to fight for and defend their soul, their self and a notion of creation as unique.
Every Easter, but at other times also, I reflect on the sacrifice that Christ and God made on the cross for us – let us not give away that very freedom by giving our selves and souls to another. We are in His eyes, created to be unique, authentic individuals, with the power and strength through Him, if we allow it, to be just who it is He wants us to be and not to be what another wants us to be.
Whatever religion one practices the struggle will always be the same – it is a struggle for our self, our souls and our freedoms. For me I put my faith in Christ, who died for us, we are forgiven for our sins through this death. The choice to believe in him is not based on logic, or the theory of one for all, it is based on what I believe is the best for me, myself and my soul. I fight to be who He wants me to be, I struggle in this fight because there are so many who over power me, but as an artist if I hold true to the notions of originality, uniqueness and authenticity, and not to what others want me to be, then I can speak through my work and the freedom it gives me. Let us live in this type of freedom, of creativity and uniqueness, for ourselves and not in the freedom of what others think that should look like and be. It is only then that we can help those in need, that we can help the many. The choice Spock made said a great deal about who he was and how he lived and what defined him. I hope that some day I too can be defined that way.
My work, “Cliff” hopefully exhibits this kind of freedom. The freedom to be able to stand upon a giant cliff with the vastness of sky surrounding you, and the freedom to spread your wings and fly. “Cliff” was just accepted into the Northwest Watercolor Societies National Exhibition Washington state. The judge was Mark Mehaffey is an internationally recognized artist, is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society Dolphin Fellow, the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor USA Honor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America signature Life Member, Watercolor Society Signature Life Member, the International Society of Experimental Artist Signature Life Member and the International Society of Acrylic Painters. Mehaffey has won major awards in juried exhibitions internationally including two Silver Medals of Honor. What an honor it was to be able to place my work in front of Mark Mehaffey, and then to have him judge it worthy of this well-known exhibition humbles me but at the same time encourages me to continue even though the struggle is hard. There are many many exhibitions I submit my work to, and many exhibitions where my work is declined. So when a work is accepted I am extremely grateful for not only the freedom to paint such a work, but also the freedom this work gives to my voice to be able to speak out.