Artsy Fartsy

The Triumph of Galatea (detail), Raphael. Image from

Daily Post prompt: Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art.

Art has been on my mind a lot lately, what with putting mine up for sale and buying some. I have a small, respectable collection that I’ve gathered from friends and friends of friends over the years.

I can’t describe why I like art any more than I can describe why I love Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Something can be technically good, but might not move me as much as something that is messy.

There is no doubt that Mozart is technically good. What I mean is that he had mad skills. Yet, with few exceptions, his music doesn’t move me in the same way as Beethoven.

Now, why is that? Scholars could argue for centuries on the outcome of a Mozart v. Beethoven cage match, but my money is on Beethoven. It’s nothing personal, Wolfie, but Ludwig’s got you beat in my book.

Music is hugely important in my life. Huge. It is my constant companion. I always have music going unless I’m watching a movie or sleeping. I have music going at work, in my car and as I type this. I have my entire mp3 collection on random shuffle. Here’s what I’ve listened to so far this morning:

Screen shot 2013-10-05 at 8.38.56 AM

That’s a fairly diverse selection of random music. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on importing all the CDs I’ve been lugging around with me from state to state. I just downloaded Barry White, Wilson Pickett, Portishead and John Spencer Blues Explosion. How my digital collection survived lo these many years without those is beyond me. Fortunately, it has now been rectified.

As of this moment, I have 22,795 songs, 60.2 days, 105.81 GB of music loaded into iTunes and it’s growing even now since I’m importing the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. I could go two months listening to music 24/7 and not hear the same song twice. Had you told me fifteen years ago that I could have my entire music collection in one place and listen to any song I wanted in a few seconds, I would have thought it was a crazy beautiful dream. Digital music has completely changed and improved my life more than I could ever describe. For an audiophile like me, it makes me positively giddy. Like it has for my entire life, my music collection is constantly growing.

My art collection is constantly growing, too. About fifteen years ago, I spent $50 on a work of art. I couldn’t afford $50 for art. It meant I had to go without food for a week, but I had art! Priorities.

Please excuse my crappy photography. I can do a lot of creative things, but photography is not one of them.
Please excuse my crappy photography. I can do a lot of creative things, but photography is not one of them.

Some might think it’s crazy to spend food money on art, but the thing is, I will have this guy forever, and whenever I see him, he makes me happy. Lifelong art appreciation beats a sandwich any day.

I am very fond of my art collection. It is constantly growing. I just counted and I currently have forty framed whatnots hanging on my walls. At least six of those were created by me. Some of it is one of a kind, like my little man above. Some are signed and numbered prints. Others are unsigned and unnumbered prints, but they all make me happy.

My favorite kind of art is stuff I couldn’t do myself. I am an excellent realistic artist. Because I have the technical ability to create something like a Raphael myself, I don’t find it all that interesting.

The Triumph of Galatea (detail), Raphael. Image from
The Triumph of Galatea (detail), Raphael. Image from

Give me a surrealist or abstract artist any day over a Renaissance painter. I have never ever gotten the knack for abstract. I’m too constrained. I can’t just let go and make a mess, yet still have it be evocative. Because of that, some of my favorite artists are abstract:

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VI, 1913.
Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VI, 1913. Image from

And, yet, some are not. I do like some realism as long as it has a unique style:

Diego Rivera - Detroit Industry Murals
Diego Rivera – Detroit Industry Murals. Image from I actually have this one hanging on my wall right below one of my own.

I wake up in the morning and the first thing I see, besides a dog tongue licking my face, is art. As I discussed before, my own creative style is different depending on the medium. My digital drawings tend to be cutesy and simple. My physical drawings are realistic and darker, like so:

Forgive the odd angle. He's sort of hiding behind a plant. Not that I hid my own art behind a plant. Very interesting.
Forgive the odd angle. He’s sort of hiding behind a plant. Note that I hung my own art behind a plant. Very interesting.

So, basically, what I’m saying is, I can’t begin to tell you why I like the art that I do since my appreciation for art isn’t at all consistent, and while we’re at it, my taste is music is all over the place, too. While I can’t effectively describe the emotions that art and music provide nor why I like certain things over others, I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to live without either of them.