Do you recall the last, true, heart to heart discussion you had with anyone?
If you do, good for you. That means you're talking and they are too. Just this afternoon, I had a serious telephone chat with a friend who is very disappointed by the direction her life seems to be taking. Who can't relate to that? I was happy to do my part, so I listened intently.
Serious talks don't have to be downers though. They can be celebratory and even light and fun. It all depends on your relationship, the person with whom you're chatting and where you both are in your lives at the moment.
However, time always seem to be the crucial element and often stumbling block. What's the point in getting into a serious conversation with someone with little hope of any measurable profit on our part? That's pretty much the mantra today, isn't it? What's in it for ME? Who has time to talk?
It's funny because I often hear people say they don't have time for THIS or THAT, but have you noticed that people ALWAYS seem to have time to argue? They actually MAKE TIME to get into pissing matches on Twitter or argue with co-workers over the trumped-up drama of the day.
Television reality shows are all about drama, misinterpretation and bickering over nothing. This is definitely spilling over into contemporary society. We've done a fantastic job in our culture of jumping to conclusions, insinuating inaccuracies, misrepresenting intentions and creating mixed signals.
What we don't do well is actually TALK ... communicate. If we truly communicated, few of those things I just mentioned would ever happen. If we truly communicated, most things wouldn't explode into arguments.
In order to engage in communication in a real way, you must be ALL IN. You cannot be texting or watching TV or doing something else while you're talking with someone. True communication means that all parties involved are fully-engaged. They're focused on one thing in that moment and that ONE thing is the other person in the conversation. Otherwise, you're going through the motions. You're "play talking" and not really communicating.
Communication is one of the most important things in the world and yet many of the world's problems can be almost directly linked to poor communication.
This is why I think talking about art, contemporary art especially, is so important. This really gets to the heart of why I do what I do as an art writer and interviewer. Of course, more than anything, art is VISUAL. The messages of art are almost always based on visual cues. Yet, great art - even bad art - should always provoke and promote discussion, real talk about what it is we're seeing, what it means and what we might take away from it.
I've found that most people are really desperate to have honest, candid and confidential conversations with other people. I don't care how much of a loner a person may be. We are all social creatures and we need to be able to engage with others at some point. Lack of communication, misinterpretation and built-up anger and fear are often what lead to so many of these school shootings that we're seeing.
I am convinced that troubled teenagers could work through their issues if they had access to arts education that included music and yes, visual art ... outlets for creativity and expression. It could truly make all the difference in their lives and get them through tough times.
It's not only crucial for us to talk about art, we also need to talk about what art can do. Looking at art is a no brainer, but talking about art is where the REAL work is involved. Talking about art is good work. It's SOULFUL work. It's the real deal.
If we can talk about art, we can also search for answers to anything that ails us. If we can talk about art, we can dig down deep within ourselves for ways to reach out to others. If we can talk about art, we can reconnect with the creative spirit within us that can help us navigate the storms of life. Talking about art is no joke. It's of paramount importance.
Is it possible to talk too much? Yes, but believe me, it's better to "overtalk" than not talk at all. Let's keep looking at art. Let's keep appreciating art, but while doing so, let's also remember that talking is what keeps art alive. Talking keeps us alive. Talking means that our blood is pumping, our hearts are beating, our lungs are breathing and our minds are working.
Talk is far from cheap. Talk gets the motors running and the wheels turning. Talk sets it off. Talk leads to innovation. Why talk about art? Because looking at art is one thing, but talking about art gets the party started.
Talk is the beginning of art and everything ever created. When God said, "Let their be Light!" Wow. Nothing has been the same since. In fact, nothing became something ... with a few, simply spoken words. God kept it simple.
Talk is the lifeblood of art. Let’s get this party started. Talk.