(The following is a presentation I gave to the Rotary Club on November 1, 2011.)
There is an uncanny connection between the arts and a particular society. Some how there is a bond between art and whatever progression or retrogression society is making. Be it militaristic, political, social or even scientific art always seems to be avant-garde to significant shifts in society. 5th century Greece gave rise to Pericles as well as to Phidias. 15th century Italy gave rise to Lorenzo de' Medici and to Leonardo da Vinic. 16th century England gave rise to Queen Elizabeth and to William Shakespeare. The Psychological Age of 20th century gave rise to Sigmund Fruad and Salvador Dali. So this begs the question, "What is the connection?" How is art, which is so often relegated to the second story of melancholy emotionalists, connected to so many things that we as a society deem much "more important." I propose that the link, the connection between art and society is a worldview. I think this is the case because art paradoxically speaks both to and about a worldview. It speaks to a society's worldview (either in support or in opposition of it) while simulations speaking about the artist's worldview (either in expression or in communication of it).
I'm going to take a break from the design related posts that I've done in the past and tell you a little story about my childhood.
When I was a kid, our church participated in the RA program. This involved times of teaching, home/civic activities as well as memorization. As you might imagine, I excelled at the memorization. Where as most kids would take no pride in such an achievement, I did. I wasn't good at a lot of things growing up. I was always the smallest kid; I wasn't athletic in the least, and if I was ever picked it was to be the score keeper. So, I really enjoyed the Wednesday portion of RAs because we got to recite the things we had memorized.
Until one night ...
My wife's been sick. Now it's my turn. It's 6:30 a.m., and I've not slept since 7:00 a.m. yesterday. Salvador Dali is one of my favorite painters because of the wildly creative pictures he would illustrate. I've been told that in order to achieve this apparition of images, he would stay awake for as long as he possibly could. He would sit, so I'm told, holding a key above a metal pail. Upon drifting to sleep his hand would relax, the key would fall striking the pail. The noise from the pail would awaken him from his nodding, interrupting whatever forced REM sleep was occurring. Thus, he would have his inspiration! Whatever he saw in his short-lived dream, he would then paint.