We finished reading Down and Out in Paris and London while driving to the tide pools at Abalone Cove on Sunday. I loved how Orwell explored poverty by living through it and then used his writing to convey impactful political ideas. We have quickly moved on to a Penguin Books collection of Orwell’s essays called Why I Write. (I am NUTS for the design of this book, by the way – it has some wonderful, embossed typography on the cover and is in every way aesthetically respectable.) In the title essay he talks about how he switched from a more florid style of writing to a more straightforward and simple construction and how, though he referred to himself as a “pamphleteer,” what he wanted was to make art of his political writing.
I find it interesting that I seem to unintentionally be coming across a theme lately – of how art can affect social and political change, and in a very powerful, sometimes beautiful way. I have never been that interested in politics per se (I am an artist, not a politician) but I can see the good use that can be made of art as a vehicle for bringing new ideas into consciousness and in some cases, like with the photographs published by the National Geographic that we saw last week in Century City, move people to action. Last year I saw a documentary on the Chinese artist activist Ai Weiwei. This is not the film I saw, this is a TED film of him, also quite interesting:
I think all this is coming up for me because I’ve been at a crossroads looking at my purpose in relation to my work as an artist, which is directly connected to my living authentically, all of which, it seems, is undergoing a grand metamorphosis. There’s more I want to say about this but my thoughts are not all the way clear yet.
I can say that it’s wonderful to live so near the ocean and to hike down to the tide pools at low tide and, screaming children aside, see such an abundance of wonderful sea life. Starfish! Purple sea urchins! Blue-green sea anemones!
We need a collective systems shift, this is just so startlingly clear. Maybe it will be the artists that help bring us there. Meantime, there is beauty everywhere.