Two People And The Tension Between

David Hockney,  Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) , 1972. Courtesy of Christie’s, via Artsy

David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Courtesy of Christie’s, via Artsy

I find it quite interesting to people watch. It is one of the things I love to do and find myself in gaze-mode whenever I am sitting alone, whether at a restaurant or waiting in line at the grocery store. There is something deeply enchanting about witnessing another’s facial expression, the way they interact with another, the thoughts that make eyebrows furrow, or why a woman decides to grow out a blonde mustache. We are lively creatures in the most intricate of ways. 

While reading this article this morning, crunching on some cereal comprised of raisins, almonds, buckwheat flakes, and Cheerios-looking bean-based O’s, it made me think about a conversation I was having during a recent studio visit. The idea of 2-dimensional artwork not having as much impact as 3D as of late.

With computers and the internet taking over our brains, without realizing, we are becoming more and more accustomed to the stimulation that comes with a faster-paced life. Who has time for reading when there are apps that give you a summary? Where is the need for human interaction when a robot can do everything for you? And yet, a peculiar trend is happening: younger folks are choosing human gatherings over internet surfing, niche magazines are popping up more than ever, and mindfulness is becoming a trend.

What does this all mean? What is happening? 

I think we are missing human connection. One-on-one time. The energy shared with others. Something magical happens when we mix with one another and it can only be when we are face to face. But simply put: no matter how advanced we might become as a race, fundamentally, we are human. There is no escaping this fact. And humans are not built to live alone, and more-so, thrive on interconnectivity. The degree as to how much is on a sliding scale, but at the core, we all want to be acknowledged, understood, seen, and loved. 

There is something to be said about this in relation to art — that even with all the bells and whistles of the computer-age, with its moving images and creation of neo-reality, there is an innate need for us to stand still, take a moment, contemplate, and be with ourselves; a stillness we crave deep down. I believe this is why we are even more today, drawn to mindfulness, meditation, reading, and viewing art. These create moments where we can connect back to our humanness, a part of ourselves we tend to lose when hustling from one thing to another. 

That is why art is still relevant, painting is still revealing, writing is still transformative, and the gaze between two humans, enticing.


(Linked article via Artsy, Why This Painting Will Make David Hockney The Most Expensive Living Artist)