Posted on July 20 2020
The 4th of July holiday got me thinking about the word “independence”. Have you ever stopped to think about what that word means to you as an individual?
For me independence means no one else can or should live my life for me, no one else can or should think the way I do, and no one else can form judgements the way I do. My thoughts my own. They are independent and separate from others. Being dependent or subordinate to another would be destructive to my soul, my self. Dependence limits what you can do – it is not living life to the fullest.
She Emerges has been featured in Nationally Juried Exhibitions
Independence is hard – it is much easier to follow the crowd. Being dependent on others to make decisions about who you are or how you act means you don’t need to be responsible – you can say “they made me do it”. Group dependence does not take responsibility and encourages blame. This type of dependence is harmful to society – it is irresponsible to fail to be accountable for your own independence.
In order to have an independent free society we need to value the independence of individuals. It is destructive for us all to think the same way. We cannot force people to give up the independence that makes each of us who we are. We must treasure that independence.
The visual arts is a wonderful example of the notion of independence. Take the difference between art and wall décor. Both seem to fall under the same rubric as “art” yet they are different.
Décor is what you use to furnish a room. It is something on the wall that picks up the colors of the throw pillows and fabrics of your room. It is “matchy-matchy” and has no personality.
I Got A Brand New Pair of Roller Skates by Christine Alfery won 2nd place in the American Art Awards and was displayed during Art Basel Miami’s Art Week
Art is independent. It is a piece of the artist’s soul that speaks to you on a fundamental level. No two works are the same and it doesn’t always match the sofa – but you love it anyway. Art is unique and one of a kind – like the creator, and like the collector.
At an early age I realized the importance of independence. I had enough respect for authority to stay out of trouble, but I refused to be a follower. That independent child grew up and studied art education in the 60’s where modernism was flourishing. Becoming an artist exemplified everything of that time. The very concept of artist, art, and creativity was understood as independence and individualism.
The idea of artist and independence has changed since 60’s. Art is still considered independent but today that category includes things like wall décor and design. I treasure the 60’s definition of art. Where the artist was valued as an individual. Where the art was an expression of the unique artist. Where value was associated with difference.
Today I continue to seek individualism in art, my own and the art around me. As I reflect on the term today, I am sorry to see it has changed.