To our artist community,
These last few weeks have been confusing and uncertain. Let’s call it what it is: there is fear. The onslaught of news alone is emotionally and mentally taxing. We know as a global community we are in for a long and painful fight. The cognitive dissonance that characterized the first few weeks is giving way to a visible reality. This is happening.
For those of us working outside relevant organizations that will bravely stand on the front lines, what is our role to play? Certainly, we are coming to understand our moral obligations; social distancing flattens the curve. But I do believe there is more. Each of us must consider our own unique skills and talents, whatever they may be, and bring them to the fore. The delicate ecosystem of society is buckling, but how can we keep the wheels turning, even as circumstances challenge us to do so?
Consider this my call to arms. In times of human struggle, the world needs art.
Crises such as this are too complex, too nuanced to put into words, but art is a higher form of language. When we don’t know what to feel, art can illustrate emotion. One thinks of David Wojnarowicz during the height of the AIDS crisis and more recently Ai WeiWei and his work surrounding Syria. At other times commentary is less direct. The abstract expressionists developed during WW2; Rothko, Pollock and De Kooning worked from despair and pushed art to a new height by visually expressing their place in time. All three were influenced by Picasso whose Guernica is one of the strongest anti-war statements known to humankind.
Today, you don’t need to be Pablo Picasso and you don’t need to have something poignant to say. But you are an artist. You do have a sword to wield. Can you push through anxiety and find the space to be creative? Can you find your voice and whisper to us, a joke, an idea, or a memory of some better time? I implore you to try, for despite the madness we’re living through 200,000 people around the world visited TeePublic.com yesterday. The value of TeePublic is that as an artist community our voices echo more loudly than one could ever do alone. That value extends beyond dollars and cents, art is valuable for its own sake. The world needs to hear from you. It’s your role to play.