I went to Lisbon, Portugal with a goal to find and to buy the perfect art piece as a memento from my travels there. I wish I could provide a coherent explanation as for what constitutes ‘perfect’ art; it is a personalized perfection, per se, because no two people will see a work of art with the same lens. How neat is that? That one person could be totally captivated by a piece while another is repulsed? Same property applies to other art forms (e.g. books—literary arts. One prominent example that comes to mind is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Some people could not stand it. I loved it.) Good art is the artist’s ability to inspire a strong enough feeling from you to shift you from your normal resting state, whether you like it or do not like it. What makes art good is its capacity to fill someone with the urge to do or feel something your usual thinking/feelings. Art has the flexibility to be whatever the viewer sees it to be. Maybe art harnesses an idea that links to our past or an idea for which we hope in our future, like a subliminal connection to the work, and for that reason, we develop our taste for art. Maybe we are drawn to art because of a natural force that we experience when we are drawn to anything else, like “chemistry.” As for me personally, I like the magic of thinking our attraction is more of a niche.
Thanks for reading that mindwander*. Now, onto the my short story that catalyzed this reflection.
On my ascent to explore the São Jorge Castle, I put on those imaginary shopping goggles you wear when you are looking for only one item in particular so you don’t drain your wallet…because everything is so cool. In my case, my goggles were tinted for an art piece that showed personalized perfection. So as I climb, I pass many art stands.
The first stand: a display of composite art with rustic colors and a feminine undertone. I pause to admire a piece and consider that it might be the one, so I take a picture of the store to remember it on my way back. (In retrospect, I would have registered the store if I had really liked the art.)
The second stand: Further on the route sits a focused young woman who paints to pass time on a Saturday afternoon. I like the idea of her, but her art is basic. To me, the art on display lacks the unique flavor that artists pour into their work to distinguish theirs from any other work of the same subject.
The third stand: I reach a populated overlook of the city about halfway up the hill where I encounter a woman on her phone with headphones selling reprints of artwork. This feels phony to me. Copies?? No. I could go to kinko’s and make a copy myself. Give me that fresh, original piece that I won’t find anywhere else in the world.
And then. Through my shopping goggles, I see the perfect art.
Last stand: a tiny art station sits lodged in the corner of the platform and I am immediately captivated. Meet the artist Eduardo Roberto. Oh wait, excuse me, the “one and only Eduardo Rrrrrroberto” as he introduces himself. What a treat he is. He is friendly yet focused in his work. What I notice is that all his paintings are brown…it smells like coffee…on the table, there is coffee…a cup for drinking…two cups for drinking?…he dips his brush in coffee and he works on a piece for his display board right in front of me… Besides drinking coffee, he paints with coffee! This niche style and charisma inspires that change in feeling I mentioned in my reflection. This is definitely the one.
Check him out! @ Artista Do Castelo
P.S. To further capitalize his already notable originality, he encloses my painting in brown paper and signs the wrapping with a sketch of a cartoon self portrait…a remarkably accurate representation of his character: animated and original.
*mindwander: a made-up word in my personal dictionary that means a leisurely or aimless way of thinking or explaining an existential concept as a result of overwhelming inspiration that is enough in the boundaries of the topic to not be considered a tangent. Basically, arts, ink is the platform for writing all of my mindwanders.