Contributed by guest writer, Maja Lynn Polic
We like to talk about beauty as mysterious but it's more obvious than that...
I was shopping yesterday in an artsy clothing store for the 20/30 something generation of women and I came
across an ugly tee-shirt that had these words printed on it: “there is a special place in the world for
artists”. Although the words rung true to me it was ugly because the message of the whole was inconsistent.
In a word, the garment was ironic.
It was a plain tee-shirt with cut-off sleeves and the print was faded and super imposed over some
unidentifiable graphic. Perhaps it was cool – the type of thing people might think an artist might like -
“edgy”, as they say. As an artist I would never wear that tee-shirt. I am an artist and I do occupy a
special place in this world – the place of seeing and grasping at the obvious and sometimes veiled beauty in
this world and interpreting it through my artistic medium of choice, which paint on canvas, but mostly just
in everyday life.
Whatever I do manages to include the elements of design to achieve the principles of design (rhythm, unity,
balance, proportion, pattern, movement, emphasis) even if it's the same denim capri pants and low pony tail,
day after day. Nature, as in natural order has established truths or aesthetics which cross over cultures
and time (and fashion). Nature's aesthetic is the dummy's guide to beauty. I like to make everything a
little more beautiful - when setting the table, writing a letter, preparing a platter of food or making the
bed. When I dress myself I am the subject of the canvas. I wear the clothes (they don't wear me). My body is
(I am) the means to beauty and my hairdo or clothing is the medium with colours, texture, line, shape, value,
volume, and space (these are known as the elements of design).
Oh yes, as a lover of beauty it is impossible for me to stop - it is a total preoccupation of mine and I
love it! Mostly, beauty is already there - I merely facilitate it's revelation to others. To the artist it
is all too simple and obvious. It is intuitive to us and unfair to the rest of the world. It is a joy for
the artist and a chore for the person who knows mostly how to appreciate that which is beautiful. So we need
each other. That's not so bad. But you too can facilitate beauty.
Here are some simple tips: Keep it simple. Be passionate about what you find beautiful. Is it the colour of
something, the form, the texture? Don't let it intimidate you. You are more beautiful. Let flowers be wild
and undisciplined. How do they arrange themselves in nature? Surrounded with greenery? Do what is obvious.
Be free. Let beauty be – some things just are; like flowers and children.
The ironic artsy tee-shirt that I wouldn't wear continues to make a statement on a very emaciated manikin in
the store. I think that statement is that ugly is something that happens when either we aren't trying at
all, or when we are trying too hard. Beautiful is a disciplined and careful endeavor, even if the flowers
are wild and carefree. It's knowing when to engage and withdraw. The knowing is the gift given to the
artist, but it can be applied by the layperson using the laws of nature.
September 10, 2012