Voice and Culture

One of the tropes of a Nancy Crow workshop is voice, Voice, VOICE. Do you have it? Have you lost? Where can you find? Is it possible to grow or buy one? Behind the hum of sewing machines is the drone of voices sorting themselves out–analyzing their own existence.

What is a voice?

It is the essence of the artist no matter what the medium. A tennis serve, a twerk, a poem, or a song, can all have strong voices attached to them. Or not. It is part of what makes us recognize a particular artist and maybe even long for their work. It is their take on what is in front of them.

What would the sky look like if depicted by Agnes Martin, Frieda Kahlo, or Kara Walker?

What about these chairs? Can you tell who painted them?

David HockneyVincent Van GoghIf your voice is strong there is no doubt it is yours. If your voice is shy or inhibited you might be mistaken for someone else or what’s even worse, not heard at all.

I believe each and every one of us has a unique and individual voice inside of us. The trick is getting that voice to come out.

Cultural conditioning encourages us, even rewards us, for being like each other. Let’s face it–if we are all alike it is much easier for corporations to sell us things, politicians to please us, and religions to save us. If we have been a good child, student, or employee, we’ve most likely compromised our voice. This isn’t a bad thing–for the most part it creates an environment that is very comfortable to live in.

But if you want to make art of any kind, you’ve got to resist society’s desire to make you fit their needs.

Being different complicates things. On a personal level, people may not like you or find you strange. Most likely this is because you are not going with the flow, and you are a little strange.

That is the idea of a voice. Do you see the conundrum this poses for many people?

P.S. The chairs–in order shown–were created by James Shilaimon, David Hockney, Vincent Van Gogh, Ada Sadler, and Henri Matisse . If you like chairs as much as I do, check out this website for more.

This entry was published on October 14, 2013 at 6:50 PM. It’s filed under Thoughts and Opinions and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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