excuses are a disease
If I have one regret about my younger days, it’s that I made far too many excuses. I over-relied on the and understanding and forgiveness of others. Big mistake. It’s not that people aren’t...
[The Rothko Chapel, photo courtesy of Arch Daily]
Long before I acquired even the faintest interest in modern art, I was down visiting my dad in Houston, hanging out with a college buddy, Andrew. We were both about twenty at the time.
Looking for something to do, Andrew suggested we should go see the Rothko Chapel, and so we did. I had never heard of either Rothko or the chapel before.
When we got there, all I saw were these big, dark, blank canvases, not unlike the monolith in Kubrick’s “2001”.
I didn’t get it, frankly… I walked out, unimpressed. Some big, black rectangles. Any half decent house painter could’ve made those. So what?
But the visit stayed with me, somehow. For reasons I couldn’t explain, for weeks afterwards I couldn’t get the Rothko’s out of my head. The paintings struck a nerve, one that I didn’t even know I had.
Nearly three decades later, I think I now know why. By painting these big, black monster paintings, Rothko was trying to get the viewer to “gape into the void”. He wanted us to contemplate “The Mystery”, the awesomeness (good or bad) that is Creation, that is the Divine, that is the Universe.
[One of my early works, 1987]
Decades later, I realize that all art- the good stuff, anyway- is trying to get us to do the same thing: Understand the immensity of existence, whatever that might mean.
Do you have to be religious to do that? Of course not. No matter what you believe, call it either God or The Void or the Physical Universe or something else altogether, the immensity is still there. What Werner Herzog calls the “Ecstastic Truth” is still there.
And it’ll always be a mystery; your existence in it will also remain a mystery, no matter what the clever folk in the TED videos may tell you.
So I wrote that line down, “All Art Is Religious Art”.
All art is trying to be a conduit… of Ecstatic Truth.
You don’t have to agree with me, but the older I get, the more I believe it myself, the more I want to live like it IS true.
And we are here. And it’s immense. And it’s a mystery. And…
And maybe it applies to stuff other than “Art”? Like maybe some of the stuff you do, to make a living, perhaps?
Maybe what you do for a living is more meaningful than it sounds.
This cartoon was inspired by my friend, Deb Schultz’s famous Iine, “Technology changes, people don’t.” Just as a fish cannot perceive that it’s swimming in water, people often forget that they exist in a sea of...
When you’re young, you discover the power of the idea. The idea could be about anything- art, science, business, love, politics, technology. It could be somebody else’s idea, or it could be one you...