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Banksy, and the Art(ists) of Compassion!

When it comes to art, the all time “greats” are great, but no other artist, street or otherwise, has moved me, or made me laugh more than Banksy. He is by far my favorite. His social, political, and humanist commentary touches my heart, and I love that his messaging has a global perspective. Just an anonymous guerrilla street artist? Okay, whatever, but great is great, and Banksy is iconic. Besides, one of Banksy’s pieces titled, Better Out Than In, apparently references a quote by impressionist Paul Cézanne, “All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.” I am no expert, but I agree.

I love this bit of history too. In its “Banksy” exhibit, Barcelona’s wonderful Moco Museum provides a short video that tells the story of how Banksy’s sister was once caught throwing away his work. When confronted, she said something like, “why not, it is not like it will ever be displayed at the Louvre.” The encounter inspired Banksy to disguise himself, and temporarily “install” his own artworks in some of the world’s most famous museums, including the Louvre in Paris, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Some of these museums now have permanent collections of Banksy’s work!

“Creativity is more than just being different…Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

I was lucky enough to recently visit both the Moco Museum (my new favorite), and the Museu De Montserrat, in Barcelona, Spain. I must be getting older, because I didn’t want to leave either place. In addition to the superb Banksy exhibit, there were other memorable creations at the Moco Museum too by Hayden Kays, Yago Hortel, Kaws, Les Fantomes, and others (see below). And although the spectacularly located Museu De Montserrat is far more traditional than Moco, it has an exceptional collection as well, with artwork from Pablo Picasso, Enric Casanovas, and Ramon Casas (their work is below as well).

“A work of art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t art at all.” – Paul Cézanne

I started to wonder about my own passions, and the role that art plays in my ongoing education, and ability to share ideas, laugh, find peace, and effect change. Art was never talked about during my “time” in high school, and college. I did manage to take a “History of Jazz & Blues” elective, which expanded my love for great musical artists (Thank you Ella Fitzgerald and Muddy Waters!), but I never understood how to appreciate art in general. For example, why on Earth was Jackson Pollock considered a great artist? What made Mattise, and Picasso so special? What was I missing? It wasn’t until I bought a copy of Art for Dummies (terrific book, lousy title), by Thomas Hoving, that I learned one of the secrets. It is all about how the “art” makes you feel. Boom. I am anything but an art scholar, but that little nugget of wisdom has helped me tremendously over the years. Suddenly, the door opened wide, and art took on a whole new meaning, and beauty. 🙂

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

Artists of Compassion

Banksy is likely vegan (click here to learn more), but there are other “non-faceless”, and probable vegan artists who advocate for compassion, and do fantastic work as well, including Carlos Latuff, Dan Piraro, and Melinda Hegedus. Interestingly, once I started to do a little research for this post, I came across an excellent article from Plant Based News that profiled other impressive vegan artists too, such as Ruby Roth, Dana Ellyn, Andrew Tilsley, Vegan Sidekick, Jo-Anne McArthur, and Twyla Francois (their work is shared below too). 

Here are additional quotes on Art & Creativity that I just couldn’t leave out. 

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy

“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dali

“It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais

“Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures…We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.”
– Ray Bradbury

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – Bill Moyers

“Life depends on science but the arts make it worth living.” – John Martin

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

“I’m not a photographer of animals, I’m a photographer for animals. I help animals through photography. Photographers are influential people with great skill, but we have enough photos in the world of beautiful wildlife. We get it. It’s time to show the harsh realities of how the rest are living.” – Jo-Anne McArthur

“Art is a form of agency.” – Farmer’s Footprint

“Believing in one’s own art becomes harder and harder when the public response grows fonder.” – Cindy Sherman 

“The definition of art has to shift whenever an innovator appears…The definition of art has changed almost every day since the first artist created the first work at least fifty thousand years ago.” – Thomas Hoving

“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

“If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Lastly, comedy is an art form too, and one of the greatest comedy “artists” of all time is Mel Brooks. 🙂
Click here to learn more about the history of art from Mr. Mel Brooks.

So, there you have it. We are all creative, I think, whether we realize it or not. A big heartfelt thank you to all of the “artists of compassion” everywhere, who have the courage to put their remarkable talents on the line, and inspire, educate, and make our world a far more “bearable” place! 

And as they say in the art world, Show’s Over Folks! 🙂

Until next time….

*Update: I joined thousands of New Yorkers for a climate march in September and noticed, once again, that there was no signage linking animal agriculture & the Standard American Diet (SAD), to the climate crisis. That is, until I was ready to call it a day, and I saw Elizabeth Downer Riker’s wonderful artwork being raised by another activist. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Riker, and later visited the gallery where her work, and the equally inspiring work of Jane Seavers, was being shown. Wow. I then hopped over to the People’s Forum for a CODEPINK event, and discovered these powerful pieces by Feda Taha, and Alexis Judeh. Wow again. Their beautiful work is also shared below. 🙂

Click here for Banksy’s website.
Click here for the Barcelona Moco Museum website.
Click here for the Museu De Montserrat website.
Click here to learn more about Banksy from the Moco Museum. 
Click here to learn more about Banksy.
Click here for a short video on Banksy’s trip to New York.
Click here for the 2014 video, Banksy Does New York.
Click here for the trailer to the film, “Exit through the Gift Shop.
Click here to learn more about the artist Hayden Kays.
Click here to learn more about Picasso’s piece, “Old Fisherman.” 
Click here to learn more about Madeleine (1892), by Ramon Casas.
Click here to learn more about Twyla Francois.
Click here to learn more about Dana Ellyn.
Click here to learn more about Andrew Tilsley. 
Click here for Jo-Anne McArthur’s Moving Animals award winning short film.
Click here to learn more about Vegan Sidekick.
Click here for Dan Piraro’s website. 
Click here to learn more about Thomas Hoving. 
Click here for more Quotes on Art and Creativity.
Click here to learn more from CODEPINK. 
Click here to learn more about New York’s Ceres Gallery. 

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