Tag Archives: life

What is art?

A short essay on art by Vaughan De Sousa

What makes truly great work is often not the work itself but the premise it stands on. To subvert reality is to create art which stands a level beyond ‘good’ or ‘impressive’ and has the ability to move people.
Is the purpose of art to move a person? Who knows. Art is already not a fully understood entity, and the purpose of an endeavour as intense as creating a piece of art one is proud of has deep psychological influence on the creator, even if this doesn’t reach the audience.

The Picture of Dorian Gray sees an artist put a piece of his soul into the painting he has created. An object of moral degradation used by its commissioner, but a creation of desire and connection. How art is used is somewhat meaningless once it passes from the artist to the surveyor. Try as we might, artists do not have the power to force their viewers into seeing their own vision. We will never see things the same way as another.
Sight, like every sense is built upon by experience. We are what we have been through, even if behind that we are the same. With our differing experiences we interact with the world, creating new visions every second. Does this invalidate the creator’s vision? Maybe. One could say that the value of an artist resides in their ability to create works which follow their intention, which transcribe the world from the brain of the madman to the eyes of the sane.

So then, could we argue that art is a language? Language is a method by which people relate their experiences with one another through a common understanding. We can never truly communicate our own world to another without a medium understood by both. This is because, as previously mentioned, there is no way for two minds to interact. Speech, signals, even expression define ways in which the living are able to relate their experiences. So too, in this way, does art describe an experience. We understand that which exists through the veil of that which is universally understood. Yet, art is able to provide an experience which is understood only by the creator.

Then does art not dictate reality? Maybe. Because what is reality other than what we define it to be. Let me explain; for us, the viewers, a piece of art may display nothing but an amalgamation of ideas, an expression on paper or a blur of half concepts. Yet to the artist this is a truth, a fundamental of their reality put into the universal world. A form of linguistic expression. The reality of this piece of work gains and loses substance depending on the surveyor, yet it exists! It is real, an expression placed into the observable reality. Meaning and value are nothing as art breaks the barrier of the mental ‘real’ and the physical ‘real’.

So then, what makes a piece of art great? I can only speak from personal perspective now; however, we have already seen that this does not invalidate my approach. Rather, this work that I put forwards is my own art. It is my expression of idea, understood by some and rejected by others but nevertheless a piece of my soul etched on paper.
I believe to move myself art must first break expectation. Whether that be in the initial glance, or scene or second, or at the end when a perspective shift changes everything. To create art which shatters the illusion of safety allows the individual to begin to ‘feel’. Before this we are simply running through the motions of experience. Everything changes us, but we are often not aware of it. Jarring processes allow introspection and a hasty desire of the brain to catch up to the new perspective, this provides a gap for art to flourish.

Think about art like waging a battle. Everything is connected of course, one could say: think about battle like performing a dance, or performing a dance like painting a picture. Everything is connected.
To win a battle at the highest level it is not enough to be perfect. Imagine two chess players of excellent ability coming to a head. To play perfectly allows the chance of winning so long as the other player makes a mistake. But these are human players. One can only think ahead so long. What if one were to play an unexpected and jarring move. The response can be a number of things: hasty, direct, winning, losing, cautious, optimistic… a previously perfect game is thrown into disarray with the introduction of a subversion from the norm. In art, there is no winning or losing, there is only the break from reality, and the chink the defences of our mind.

The surveyor is your dance partner, your enemy at war, your chess opponent and your audience. To slip past the defences created by a mind is to find the opening whereby a life can be forever altered. Sometimes this is easy. The surveyor has had a hard day, they have lost a family member, or they are ready to quit their jobs/lives. The armour is in tatters, the audience has come to the show begging for change, at this point to change one’s life is simple. We can relate an armour-less surveyor to a child. Experience weathers us, it creates layers or expectation which prevents art, and all other experience from changing who we are. Or better yet think of it like a river, causing erosion on a smooth surface. A rush of water down this surface will not change much regarding its path, as the path is already set in the ground. It may widen or deepen it, but there is no new course to be made.
The mind of a child is a pile of sand, and you the artist hold a bucket of water. You can shape this mind however you wish with the notches, grooves and streams that you may pour atop this pile of sand. And as the sand mixes with dirt and clay, the grooves you have created solidify. I hate to say with time, but that is what happens. Once the grooves are made they remain, slowly gaining in intricacy as other sources of water pour, and more sediment hardens the earth.

Everything is connected. You understand where I am going with this, I am sure. The ability for art to create or add to a stream is clearly there, but what is the joy in adding to a groove in the dirt. You want to make your own. Perhaps art is a forceful thing, the artist a dominant figure. I write this piece expecting a change in your mental state, you will change after reading this regardless of who you are or what you have experienced, if only through the fact that you will have read something. But as the creator I have changed you, moulded a tiny piece of your mind forever.
But what if I were to change this work here. And completely destroy your expectations. I am not a great artist, I do not know what I could do to do this, but imagine I place beneath this wall of text an image which shatters your illusion. A picture that shocks you to your core, making you rethink all you have read thus far.

This would be your chink in your armour. Following this shock I could place a few simple words. You may go away from this with a desire to make something new, or a fear of art and it’s grips on your soul. ‘Soul’. Mind.
With this new experience you will rework your mind, you will solidify what you have seen and heard around your personality. It will become a new groove in your earth. And you will continue on, with a line drawn into your life by me. The artist.

I believe that art, when great, stands on a premise and shatters it. I believe this allows the artist free reign of your mind. I believe that a truly great artist uses this moment to reshape you, like a clay doll being altered before being placed into a kiln.
Because death is the final point of hardening, you will not gain any experience (known by us) from then on. You are the finished piece of art upon your deathbed.

Art is not just a painting on a canvas or a clip of a movie scene. Art is the the experience, from the creator to the created. We shape ourselves and others when we form art. Art is a language, and is also every language. But then you may ask, what is the difference between art and ANYTHING ELSE.

Everything is connected.

Living

Don’t go out. Don’t go near. Don’t uncover. Just don’t!

We are living the dream.

Those festivities we avoided with such flippant negligence is now a distant memory.

Zoom. Zoom. Google Meet. Teams. Whoop!

Again.

Repeat.

What a way to communicate.

Jokes agitate as Tiktok concentrates the bored.

Meetings with half-dressed workers fade to tirades for and against the vaccines and face masks.

The sound of tumbleweed rolls across school room floors.

Stillness catches on the feet of silent students sitting through online lessons, pretending to care.

Each household occupant mesmerised by screens – all shapes to fit all sizes – fuelling the need to educate and replicate finances.

We grow as people.

News becomes the main course of entertainment; briefings from the Government is seen as prime time television. Yet, it plays out like a soap opera, portraying predictable plots with caricatured speakers grinding out soliloquies of fortitude to the nation.

We grow weary.

‘Get children back to school!’

‘Vaccinate the vulnerable!’

‘Brexit!’

‘Nothing was done fast enough!’

Hyperbole flows in rivers of information, confirmation and confrontation from all corners of the continent. Unsettled murmurs of incompetency grow as fear is replaced by anger. Explanations and apologies hold as much value as a bag of Dolly Mix.

In the meantime, we count the souls like lost teeth.

More bitter than sweet.

Life becomes hard to swallow.

Copyright ©Eloise De Sousa (2021). All rights reserved.

Book review by a 2-year old : Moofy and Flo by Eloise De Sousa

There’s nothing better than receiving reviews from readers, especially when they are two years old!
A huge thank you to Cecily for sharing her grandson’s review of Moofy and Flo. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I did – I’m still smiling from listening to his little voice! It makes me think of Christmas and curling up by the Christmas tree, watching movies and reading stories to my children (who are to big to fully appreciate that now!).

Cecilyswritings

Ask a child and they’re brutal with the truth. Sometimes it’s not what you want to hear, other times it’s just right. Whatever they tell you, it’s genuine and from the heart. There is so much we can learn from a child. If they like something they’ll show it, usually by their actions. The cuddle, the kiss, the pouting face.

My friend and mentor, and published author, Eloise De Sousa sent me an advance copy of her video book Moofy and Flo to show my grandson, Sebastian, we call him Sebbie. 

Sebbie came over to our place on a gorgeous, hot Sunday afternoon.

He dashed around the garden, chasing both my husband and I (oh! the exercise!!)

He played hide-and-seek

Rode on his little balance bike

Had a picnic on the lawn

Blew bubbles

Talked to the flowers

And the birds and bees

Picked a few flowers

Helped mow the…

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Day Three of the, This Is Lockdown. Blog Tour.

Marjorie Mallon has compiled a collection of stories and poems that capture our days in lockdown.

Hi everyone welcome to a socially distanced tea and chat with the very talented and lovely Marjorie Mallon.  Well make yourself comfortable and enjoy…

Day Three of the, This Is Lockdown. Blog Tour.

#StaySafe Monday Coffee

Come and sit next to me in our Covid-free coffee house. I can reach over and give you a big hug because, in this world, we are away from the madness, away from the social distancing that has kept us imprisoned in our homes and away from the chaos of confusing instructions on what our future holds.

The news of a lift on lock down protocols has sent ripples through our world, no matter where we live. Some of us feel exasperated by the ridiculous conflicting messages of lifting a lock down when we have no cure in sight. But, on the flip side, others are questioning how we are going to keep eating, drinking and switching on the lights and heating in our caves if the economy dies? We could sit here and enjoy the chocolate cake and finger sandwiches, but even this won’t last if the world stops. First world problems compared to those living in developing countries I hear you say – or maybe not.

I was discussing this dilemma the other day. To say that we are a mixed bag of circumstances is not a strong enough statement to capture the worrying conditions of some families locked away in high rise buildings with only the graffiti on dirty walls to entertain children. The conclusion I reached was: humans will always find a way. We are the cockroaches of the earth. Bickering, name calling, finger pointing and wearing impassioned charitable cloaks to cover our self-serving natures are all part and parcel of our nature. But so is our adaptability and enduring natures. What we need is a common enemy – something or someone that will force nations to break down their feeble fences and hold hands with neighbours to battle for our freedom and survival. Will this current destructive force be enough to evolve our muted minds and make us move towards a more cohesive future with our environment? I don’t know. History votes against us. Will our current invisible enemy win? That depends on our attitudes towards authority, their guidance and whether or not we follow it without question.

Last week, during our pregnant pause awaiting the delivery of the newly born protocols on  lock down, I noticed a rise in traffic outside my house. Cars and trucks trundled past every few minutes. Residents filled the pavements leading to the forest down the road, chatting and laughing under the warm spring sun. A gentle breeze carried conversations about coping with isolation and home schooling. Joggers took to the street, sparing irritated glances at the congregated socialites littering their paths. People forgot just how dangerous it is to travel around, to meet up with each other and to socialise in close proximity.  Their lulled sense of security made me think of the invisible enemy watching them, following them back into their lives, their homes. We won’t see their mistake, not just yet. Give it a week, or two.

As we sip at our cups and wonder at mankind’s dilemma, let’s remember what the unlocking of restrictions without a cure or proper tests will release. Let’s think about the dying economy and families imprisoned in homes that can’t cope with unstable financial futures. Let’s sit here knowing that there will be no sirens to announce the tsunami of cases rising and approaching with speed in the coming weeks. Germany saw this rise  less than a week after they lifted their restrictions on lock down. Logically, this means the movement began once the whispers of change drifted on the media wind in the precluding weeks, just like my road told the tale of forgetfulness last week.

With all this in mind, I’d rather sit here, with you, sipping at my Darjeeling tea. What will you do? What choices do you have?

Stay well and stay safe. x

 

 

A Thousand Thanks

Dear readers,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and liking my posts. We are now a thousand strong! I am so grateful.

You are all awesome!

Sending you all big hugs. Stay well and stay safe.

El x

Thank you!

If the World was ending, you’d come over – right?

If the world was ending, I’d come over, right

Ready to spend the entire night

Never having to say good-bye,

Knowing you’d be the last face I’d see tonight.

 

Would you save me as your final list:

The person who says: ‘to hell with it?’

The one you who you always thought you’d celebrate?

The person who held it all together –

wasn’t easy saying ‘I’m jealous’, yeah,

Even though I haven’t been around for it.

 

Yet, I know, you know, we know

That you’ll be coming round tonight.

If all the world knows, it’s going to be

time to get out of sight…

 

If the world was ending, I’d come over, right

Ready to spend the entire night

Never having to say good-bye

Knowing you’d be the last face I’d see tonight.

 

 

Copyright held by ©Eloise De Sousa (2020)

Your Turn

www.instagram.com/p/B-HWjL6AzFa/

Monday Coffee in Isolation

Hi! I won’t hug you today as we are practicing social distancing, but I will say it’s great to see you. At a time when the world is coming to a standstill, having a chance to meet friends makes me think we are far luckier than our ancestors.

While the media fills our heads with information and updates of doom, I take to social media to find my friends and give updates on positive events. Sharing fun ideas on how to keep the children busy has been well received and I am determined to keep it going for as long as I can.

My Writers’ Club has adapted like a chameleon to new vegetation. We’ve had two webex meetings and have managed to collate ideas and start writing projects. Considering some children are as young as six, I’m very impressed at their capabilities and can look at our teething problems as minimal. I will be opening the club to new members who will start in April. If your children enjoy creating worlds and pushing their imagination beyond the obvious, contact me. I’ve attached the flyer below.

Contact me if you would like your child to join the online Writers’ Club.

At home, the house has been full for about two weeks now. All my children are keeping busy with their schoolwork. I’m trying to supplement their work to encourage further growth while we are in isolation. Never one to waste time, my daughter has enforced school schedules, even if there aren’t any lessons planned by their teachers on the day. Instead, we make use of BBC bitesize and other programmes that offer free lessons to support children studying from home.

My biggest challenge is keeping my large family fed. Food runs have been cut to reduce exposure to the virus. My next run might be done with gloves and a mask. I’m getting paranoid over the chances that I might carry the virus in with the shopping bags or on the packaging. So everything is unpacked, cleaned and my own clothes changed with a complete decontamination of my face and hands. It’s exhausting but necessary if I want to keep the family safe. Are you following any protocols to keep your families or yourselves safe? Are you as paranoid as I am?

We have reached the days when earth’s most toxic inhabitants slow to a rumbling stop. While we complain and worry and fight to survive, remember to take a moment to appreciate all the things around you. Our greed led us here. Let’s hope this world wide experience will make us approach the future in a better way. I’m not holding my breath though.

Stay well and stay safe. x