A web, not an assembly line

published2 months ago
2 min read

Darlings, how are you? I always feel particularly charged by the seasonal changes around the equinoxes. They’re filled with vibrancy, color, and very noticeable transitions. So, today, we’re getting romantic.

I recently came across an article on the Creative Bloq site by Bob Eggleton about his approach to painting. The article is a fun read, but what sent me down a rabbit hole was his offhand mention of Caspar David Friedrich. A image search piqued my curiosity, which led to a book from the library, followed by a visit to the museum. I’m sure I’ll be stealing referencing these in future works.

According to official art history taxonomy he’s “Romantic.” Okay, I’ll buy that. An essay on Romantic art on the Met website concludes with this lovely quote from Baudelaire “Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” Great, I’m with you. But then the historian types start nerd-fighting about when it ended. Say what? We started this little journey with a living artist citing an influence on the work he’s making today, right here, right now. So then, what of this bounded Romantic era the historians are so eager to stick a pin in?

So this got me thinking back to my days in high school and college. Don’t know about you, darlings, but it was there that I was taught art, literature, and music through the dubious lens of “periods.” These periods were taught as distinct things, with start and end dates, unifying characteristics and, of course, a few GREAT MEN™️ at the helm to whom we should bow down. Underlying these periods was a notion of evolution, each giving way to the next in some kind of stairway to heaven. Reflecting on it now, I feel that’s a horrible way to look at creativity, creators, and culture at large. It’s even more horrible to force it on young impressionable minds.

We live in time with access to so much that influences can come from anywhere and any period of history. The elitist, linear narrative was probably never true, but it’s utterly irrelevant today as a way of describing how and why art gets made. We are each a part of a vast, intricate web of influences acting on us on a variety of levels all the time. The only linear narrative to art or history is the one we feel compelled to place on it. But what about abandoning that bit of conditioning and thinking more interdependently? It’s a living, constantly shifting web, not an assembly line. No start, no end, each point equally important and connected, whether near or far, to each other point.

Until next time, flame on! 🔥

This has been the Queer Quantum Dispatch, brought to you by artist Edward Ficklin. If you enjoyed it, smash the forward button and share the love. 💖 If you got this from a friend (and what a friend!) subscribe for more!

Edward Ficklin

Edward Ficklin (he/him), the maverick artist not afraid to say gay, is a self-taught painter, writer, publisher and sometimes technologist. He creates sensuous and erotically-tinged queer surrealist art, publishes queer-centered sci-fi comix, and pontificates regularly on a range of topics in his Queer Quantum Dispatch newsletter.

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