"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Art that matters

(Hint, click on the links for more information later, they're important, but not as important as my story of an artist who matters.)

"Everyone wants to matter, to be important," I've said many times, talking with colleagues about students.
I'm a slow learner, but know we're all on the same journey.
As I was reading some old short stories by Ray Bradbury, "Golden Apples of the Sun," and have read some poetry and two other books in the last week, I kept thinking to myself, "I want to write something that matters."
"Changing Seasons" by Bud Caldwell--art that matters
Last week we attended the Open Minds art show for the Colby Foundation, to benefit people with mental illness, thanks to friend Ted Streuli, editor of the Journal Record, for whom the subject is intensely personal, having lost an adopted son. Read the links later.
It was downtown Oklahoma City, with more than 50 works of art by 28 artists in the juried show. We wandered in and out, visiting with journalism friends, drinking wine and enjoying the violin music and food.
The foundation and one of the show's benefactors, the National Alliance on Mental Illness emphasizes mental illnesses are like all others...diseases of the body, and not a stigma.
The artwork was mesmerizing. Beside or underneath each piece was the name of the art, the name of the artist, and the mental illnesses the artist endured or suffered.
I soon realized it didn't matter if it said "schizophrenic,""bipolar," "depressive," or whatever, it didn't matter. These were incredibly talented PEOPLE. I have a "frozen shoulder" that is being worked on. My wife has a kidney stone scheduled for lithotripsy. So? What is the difference? None.
I found one piece that aroused my interest as an artist, and was in my price range. "Changing Seasons" by Bud Caldwell. It was an 8" by 10"abstract acrylic. Not emotionally per se, but as an artist, I could see it in our house. It tells me art matters, emotionally for eternity.
So I bought it, and shortly afterward, this gentleman with a trimmed gray beard came up and said he'd painted it, and this was one of his first in a juried show. I was honored to meet him, got his card, and we chatted, about his technique and art.  
Bud Caldwell, whose card for "Selective Arts" advertises "Contemporary, Abstract and Native American Art," was a discovery of someone who matters. If you need artwork, contact him at blc317@att.net. I'm envious of his talent. His work reminded me that people with these various disorders are just like the rest of us...various illnesses, but people with incredible talent.
Artist Bud, me and his painting, and Ted
I want to paint something that matters, that withstands and outlives me--I guess I have, but I've found something else that matters--meeting a new talented artist, perhaps his first juried show, and being able to share in his vision.
Then, Ted wrote this sentence in his column yesterday about one piece he bought.
Art that matters, and writing that matters:
"I wouldn't say it spoke to me; it was more like it shoved a hand into my chest, grabbed my heart, and squeezed until it cried."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your kindness. It was great meeting you and getting to talk to you as well. Hope to stay in touch. Bud


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