Rant: We need more artists!

Some people say we need more doctors, more teachers, more engineers. Fools.
By DAVID KISH  |  February 25, 2009


There's just not enough art to festoon all the walls in all the coffee/sandwich/burrito/gelato/bagel/pizza/frogurt shops in this great art-loving, snack-loving city of ours. I'm not even going to get into the woefully empty walls of tanning salons; I mean, damn, I need something to look at while waiting for my bronzing bed. Preferably, something in velvet with a dolphin. A velvet dolphin, you say? Hey, you have artistic potential!

Now, some people say we need more doctors, more teachers, more engineers. Fools. Those people can't bring us better healthcare, literacy, or bridges. Artists can! Just think of all the human glories that art has brought into the world. Everyone knows Picasso's Guernica ended fascism, and DaVinci's Mona Lisa invented the smirk, which has become invaluable in the field of diplomacy. But few know that space travel was pioneered by Giotto's buoyant angels, and relativity was discovered by Cezanne's slightly curved horizon line. I've also been told that video games first appeared in Winslow Homer's pocket sketches. Clearly, with enough artists we can figure out how to efficiently desalinate the oceans and restock them with rainbow trout.

So, considering our enviable lineage of visual artists — from the performance artists, Sacco and Vanzetti, to the sculptor, Jeffrey Dahmer — our MFA factories are simply not churning out enough art-makers to satisfy our increasingly lusting eyes. That's why you, the amateur, yes you, must step to the plate, or canvas, or plate if you want, make your mark, and nail it to a wall somewhere. Imagine the progress this country would make if the 5 million people currently collecting unemployment said, "To hell with assembly lines, I think I'll be an artist!"

The best part is that it's easy to be an artist. In fact, you don't have to go to school at all — just hang out on Congress Street. If you're there right now, I would suggest jumping in front of a car. If you survive, you'll get more solo shows out of pity. If you die, people will want to invest in your portfolio. It's win/win, baby! Next, work on your look by getting some tattoos — oops, I mean "body art." If you're afraid of needles, skip the tattoos and go to the hair salon for an Andy Warhol. If you're afraid of Andy Warhol, you're already an artist!

These days you don't have to buy expensive art supplies either. Sure, art professors disagree, but that's because they own stock in art supply stores. A trip to any thrift store will supply you with enough material to be a fiber artist for two lifetimes. Some very established artists (and several super-smart monkeys) are even using feces to make art, and everyone has some of that! Lots of artists make art out of found stuff. They call it "found objects," but don't let that confuse you. Just look for stuff that's big enough to see and small enough to carry. Also, the more beat up the stuff is, the better. It's called "weathering," but don't confuse that with mud season, especially if you're working with feces.

All in all, if God didn't want us to fill up our walls with art then why does the Pope do it? He's got art all over his house, and some of it is even in velvet!

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