Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Sunday, October 03, 2004  

American Beauty

My wife and I attended an annual Arts Festival Expo yesterday. This is the second year we've gone. We particularly wanted to see what the photography vendors were selling, and learning what it cost to participate in the three day event in case I wanted to try my hand at earning some money that way.

I was pleased to learn that as fine and innovative as some of the photography was, I was not entirely outclassed, and could sell my work as the others were to some success. (But the cost of start up would be high in having to construct a nice, modular booth with excellent lighting to manufacturing the stock both framed and unframed. I might cost between $5-10K just to get out the door because of needing a high end inkjet printer, framing goods and mats, a better camera and computer, and special paper.)

One aspect of the beautiful and marvelous things we saw at the show was an emphasis on the Beautiful.

Having to sell to ordinary, but also discerning, people meant that they had to appeal to a finer sense. The artists are all juried to enter the show (which is produced in many cities like a tour by the same company), and have to pass high standards. You don't find any cheap, sentimental, maudlin kitsch there, which is why we love to attend.

As I said, the emphasis was generally on the beautiful and innovative new techniques or styles. It was a joy to see and meet artists that desired to please rather than insult or offend; but not please in a submissive, unchallenging manner; instead, attempting to express themselves in a deeply authentic and resonant way that would appeal to others.

However cleverly done many of the works were, they were not sold on that basis, but on the impression of delight the work itself, not its technique, gave. These were not art school, academic poseurs. Many of the artists we spoke with had been doing other things with their lives when their hobby developed into a profession, or their skills in one field were turned to use in another (art).

It filled me with joy for my fellow artists, their perspicacity, their entrepreneurship, their independant spirits, their deep love for creative work, and their love of beauty itself.

It was a good day for America.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:22 PM |