The fire

“…It’s about bringing the fire from wherever you found it to an art world that desperately needs it.” So ends Dave Hickey’s essay Nurturing Your Addictions from his most recent book, Pirates and Farmers: Essays on Taste.

As always, I loved every one of Dave Hickey’s essays in this book, a number of which I had read in slightly different form in Art in America, but this particular one, which is primarily an argument against the current state of art education, was the one that stayed with me the most.

My excerpt above doesn’t do it justice, but I think it gets the main point across, which I think also applies to all of life:

There is a lot of pressure to live, work, or just be a certain way in order to get approval from others, but nothing can ever replace following your passion, your obsessions, your true addictions. Whatever it is that gives you fire. Don’t discount something just because it seems trivial or even ridiculous.

Take the things that you find meaning in and share them with others. It sounds so simple, right? Yet so challenging for social animals like us.

For some of us this is easier than for others, especially when the things we are obsessed with are more socially acceptable.

I recently watched Mistaken for Strangers, which is a documentary made by Tom Berninger about touring with his brother Matt’s band, the National. Or at least that’s what he started out trying to make a movie about. What he wound up with is something different, which illustrates the challenges of bringing what you love to the table quite well, I think. And manages to be hilarious too. I highly recommend it.

For my part, I found myself recently drawn to taking a hint from those horrible old seventies string art pieces. Do you remember those? The ships on velvet? Here’s one of my investigations into this particular obsession of mine.


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