reaction :: the enlightening bridge between art and work

lethacolleen - collage detail

i heard this essay in the 10 minutes i was listening to all things considered on npr last night. note: only 10 minutes cause that’s all i was in the car. i am a complete public radio junkie.

alain de botton, the author of the pleasures and sorrows of work, poses the idea that for most people, going to work results in few outward effects. society rarely sees the product of our daily work because so many of us our employed in the service sector, among others. he says, “If it does appear in consciousness, it does so via the business pages of newspapers, it does so as an economic phenomenon, rather than as a broader human phenomenon.”

art, he argues, is where the products of american work used to appear.

he continues that while were once inexorably connected to the goods we consumed and the people who produced them, we are utterly unconnected now.

too true.

but wait, in our world – our indie craft, handmade, simple life movement – we are rediscovering the roots of our work & our art. my work is completely connected with your art. your art depends on work like mine. and i sure do love living in this interconnected web.

so anyhow, i would love for you to read the essay and let me know *your* thoughts on the idea.

and what are your ideas for helping others rediscover the connection between art & work?

{image credit: lethacolleen via flickr – more from her to come!}

6 thoughts on “reaction :: the enlightening bridge between art and work

  1. Wonderfully written, and so true. Art has definitely evolved with our changing times and economy, but it is so wonderful, as an artist, to be a part of the web between art and work. It is also nice to know we, as artists, and as those who promote art, are doing what we LOVE…and better yet, others love it enough to pay for it!

  2. That was an interesting essay. Alain de Botton’s desire to have art express our everyday life, in all it’s facets, is intriguing. How we would convey this world with it’s complicated processes and layers is food for thought. I’m sure one could search Etsy and find some examples of such depictions in all different mediums.

    I think that the idea of depicting our modern life, through art, in a way that would reflect an appreciation of everyday life, as de Botton discribed, would be quite the boon for artists! Imagine a vast network of projects on the scale of the 1930’s WPA! I think the point that was missing from his essay was that there was a much greater support system for artists in the time frames he discribed. How grand if we could have that level of support for the arts in the USA today.

  3. Scoutiegirl —
    Haven’t enough time to read and comment on the essay right now as dinner is ready, but did want to tell you how amazing your site is and found myself exploring. Added it to my favorites and will be back.

  4. I think it’s such an interesting discussion. I think our societies definition of art is constantly changing and evolving so it’s difficult to put a finger on what art truly is. I would strongly agree that through this huge indie craft movement we are re-forging that connection between “artist” and “consumer”. We are recognizing that our love for cheap, mass produced items have taken a toll on our society and our earth and we are embracing unique, handmade things.

    I would argue with Paula that now more than ever the support system for the arts in the USA is exceptional. As an artist / crafter the support I’ve received is incredible. The resources for me to promote my craft are phenomenal and it’s amazing to me the number of people that will go out of their way to purchase handmade vs. mass produced. It’s an exciting time to be an artist!

  5. As a baby boomer who has worked in the food and fashion industries,taught art & design in colleges and now has a small art/design business, I am just thrilled to see young people become the backbone of the handmade and local living movement. I have a theory that the first generation who experienced mass produced throw away pricepoints growing up now has a deep human need to make things and see where their stuff comes from again. I am so grateful to the internet for helping us all find each other too! Thank you so much for your thoughtful post…I love your site. (I am an NPR daily fan too.)

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