Why Be Normal?
Posted on September 21 2020
I have a magnet on my magnet board that says Why Be Normal? Most people would agree that having artwork that matches the pillows on your sofa is a normal thing to do. As an artist I often find myself asking WHY people like to be normal?
Normal is boring. Normal doesn’t celebrate differences. Difference is interesting. Not everything has to match.
You can put plaids with stripes. Although that trend is “normal” right now it sure wasn’t when I was a kid. I remember my mom thought it was very important that my shoes, my socks, my dress, my purse, the ribbons in my hair all match. I would walk around as a matchy-matchy monotone – not causing any waves. Using contrasting colors was unthought of then. Matching was normal.
Trends change. When stripes and plaids were first put together it was thought of as different, not normal. Now they are normal and something else different emerges. It brings me back to the question – why be normal? Be yourself. Be who you understand yourself to be, like an artist does.
Trends change in cycles – this is how I understand “art” to be. The key to art is difference. Not difference just to be different – the key is to be unique, one of a kind, one-in-a-million.
There are millions of us, so how can one work of art or one artist become one-in-a-million? That is the hard part. Normal is familiar, safe, easy. It is not normal to be independent from the norm, unique, different. It is not safe or known – it means taking a risk. Stepping outside of normal takes a deep understanding about who you are, your history, and a deep security in how your difference is indeed really different. It means freedom.
I remember watching the Star Wars movie, “The Wrath of Kahn.” Spock was dying and he spoke his famous words, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.”
Personally I believe that the one, the one-in-a-million, far outweighs the many. The one could change the world. The many, the matchy-matchy sofa and pillows, the normal – they don’t change the world. As an artist I celebrate when the one-in-a-million happens. I celebrate the difference it generates.