Art is the most intense ode of individualism that the world has known. – Oscar Wilde
When I was a little girl I used to capture snakes in glass jars, and insist they sleep with me at night. Of course this is all I remember, what happened to these snakes I’m not quite sure. I would highly hope my dad let them go, and that I did not try to cuddle them to death. However, I knew that I was slightly different. But it was okay, because I was surrounded by other children who were slightly different as well.
Then one dreadful day I was told that we will be moving to the country gasp. As far as I can remember I was devastated. My parents naturally reassured me that everything would be better, and all will work out. Oh the lies these parents told us when we still relied on them for food.
Of course, I did not fit in, and spent most of my days alone. Exploring hidden locations, drawing, painting, listening music. Farm life was different, but I rather enjoyed it. For the most part.
However, it did quite seem like a scene straight out of what I’d expect a hybrid film inspired by Children of the Corn, Stepford Wives and Psycho. I still wonder how I managed to grow up so completely different, as all the things I was subjected to clearly needed me to grow up with different views and thoughts. I never did fit in, and it was only after I moved away that I could be me, the girl who I have been suppressing for far too long.
This is why I am drawn to this piece by James Abbott McNeill Whistler so much. He did an art piece that was true to him, and he fought for his views. Even if he was bankrupted by the fight. He stuck to his guns. He purely believed that art was art for art’s sake, and that the beauty of it was enough. The art world changed because of him, because he could not allow his vision to die because of one influential critic’s opinion.
I spent many years trying to explain to others that everything was not as black and white as it seemed, that it was possible to see different beauties within different beliefs and values. It took a long time before the world around me changed enough for me to be able to honest about who I am, without wise ass critics flaunting their opinions.
Listen! There never was an artistic period. There never was an Art-loving nation. – James Abbott Whistler
(Piece Information: Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket – James Abbott Whistler)