02 April, 2008

Miranda July and Art

After seeing You and I and Everyone We Know, I developed a strong creative crush on Miranda July. I stopped short of stalking her in person or even via the internet, but like all such crushes, I had the intense feeling that we should be friends and that we are kindred spirits. Imagine my intense delight to learn that she had published a book of short stories.

I think that that is the effect that all really good art has. Or should have. A feeling of kinship with it maker. Maybe not accompanied with maniacal obsession to find out everything about its maker. (I'm not in love with you, Miranda. I just like you!) Art is about communicating, right?

Miranda July strikes me as the kind of person who should be an artist. Honest, loving and with a strong desire to see beauty, even in ugly places and ordinary people.

When I was younger, I was full of optimism about the transformative potential of art. I studied Art History at college. I thought that everybody should make art, drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. I met a lot of hip, shallow people. Then I became cynical. I realised that most contemporary Art was more about getting ahead in the Art scene than self-expression, and more concerned with patronising 'ordinary' people than communicating with them. I gave up coffee and cigarettes. I gave up on art. Then I realised that being a scenester is not a prerequisite for making art any more than it is for appreciating it. All either requires is an open mind and an open heart.

Like Miranda July.