This is a repost from my piece for today on the http://artnowsf.com site, but I really can’t think of anything to add off top, so I will get back atachya tomorrow, but until then… “So here we are. One day until New Years Eve 2011. We are about to enter what the Mayan Calendar deems to be the end of the world as we know it. If anything 2011 has been a harbinger of drastic change, a platform from which “globalization” seems to be working for the iron fist of the wealthy elite as usual, but is starting to be a very powerful tool for the rest of us in the world to share ideas and develop tactics to fight “the man” so to speak. We definitely exist in a world that is going through some very dramatic changes, hurtling forward technologically faster than ever before, and increasingly environmentally unsustainable (for us) due to our reliance on consumerism. There is war everywhere, and the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow on a scale never before seen in history and we are all at the mercy of totally failed and rapidly disintegrating economic system. (Pretty soon we’ll be trading labor for crafts and goods again and making trade with things that are actually worth something, hrrmmmmmm, sounds like what America was like before the settlers got here) All this being said, I for one am actually very excited about living in this time and seeing what 2012 will bring. It could be a violent hurricane of revolution and mass destruction, it could become an even more sterile society of ownership and apathy, or it could erupt into one of the most beautiful eras of human history where people farm for themselves and each other, where a mass consciousness overtakes us and we can all break bread together. Probably non of those things to that degree will happen, but 2012 will most definitely mark a series of sprouts to seeds that have been planted in 2011 in a broad range of societal changes.
We have seen some amazing steps in the past few years in terms of art, design, information technology, communication tools, food, music, creativity, and new creative ways of living as a whole. We are truly starting to see the ability of art and artists to free themselves and those around them mentally and spiritually in the face the stifling hand of consumerism and the culture it has created. To the same effect we are also seeing the commercialization of art like never before through a new generation of advertisers and marketers. We are seeing an influx of DIY culture resurging and growing larger than it has ever been to try to combat the ills and destructive nature and soullessness of mass production and an obviously failed economic system. And still again on the same token we are seeing whole communities being owned by companies like Monsanto and WalMart, and are living in a time when the power of branding and “the Brand” has become one of the most important aspects of our lives. Despots and violent dictators are being toppled but we are all concerned with who will replace them and who will actually control those replacements and for what reason. While we don’t seem to have any Martin Luther King Jr.s or Ghandis at the moment, we are seeing groups of people coming together as one in larger numbers on a global scale and acting as a unified voice so that one person does not have to. But damn it would be nice to have a leader that cannot be bought again, too bad Obama couldn’t seem to fit this part of the bill.
So I guess my point here in is this. We are all just humans. While we have evolved in so many ways, we really haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on what it takes to truly be highly evolved beings with an understanding of consciousness and can’t agree on the right ways to move forward, but within in this mess we find beauty. Without pain there is no pleasure, and peace and serenity are only truly understood when one has been far far from them. Without the world I live in I can’t make the art I make and send out a message of life as I know it. So tomorrow night, spend it with people you love and love you, do something good for someone else, and don’t forget to laugh and make love, because according to the Mayans this is your last year to do any of it in this life. Yep stay positive, it will pay off for you when the shit hits the fan! While this era of civilization is on its way out, we definitely are moving quickly into the next chapter. Be happy you are here to witness it.
In passing this photo below is of a new painting so far entitled “A Conversation With Coletrane About Spirituality…”, it is in progress and is will face opposite the “Conversation With Charles Mingus…” piece in the Altar/ Installation at Queens Nails Projects on February 4th.
Text, Art, and Photos by John Felix Arnold III Middle Photo By Shaun Roberts