Archive for February 6th, 2023

Merit Badge

GC Myers- Merit Badge sm

Merit Badge at Little Gems

For art to be free and universal you must create like a god, command like a king and work like a slave.

–Constantin Brâncuși

I was looking for something to pair with this little painting and came across the quote above from the great Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. His words really hit the bell for me, both summing up what I feel about creating art and what I see in this very small painting.

I have long felt that the artist had to create their own inner world and universe. It might be based on the outer world in which they reside but it is a separate world. It has its own atmosphere, its own feel, its own sense of place and time.

This would be the create like a god part of Brâncuși’s words.

In that newly created world, the artist is the law. The artist determines what is right and wrong. If the artist says the trees shall be red, the fields purple or orange, and the sky green, that is how it shall be done. As Pharoah might have said: So it is written, so it shall be done.

This would be the command like a king part.

To make this world, with its own rules and sense of right and wrong, a reality requires hard work. It demands sweat and dedication, not half-hearted efforts, to maintain the vitality and viability of this newly formed world, those things it requires in order for others to accept and embrace this new world. Tens of thousands of hours of dedicated work and sacrifice go into it.

That, of course, is the work like a slave part.

I see all three parts in this new little piece that is part of the Little Gems show, opening Friday at the West End Gallery. It represents the world that has been formed in my work over the past 25+ years, with its own rules of how things are and can be along with its own symbol language. The fields in the foreground, for example, are always a symbol of hard work for me. Or I guess I should say that it’s a symbol for that which is created from hard work.

The slave part with its hard work and sacrifice might sound pretty unappealing and has been a deal breaker for many talented people. But I have found that once you have embraced the roles of God and King/Queen in your work, the Slave role becomes much easier to accept.

I call this little painting Merit Badge. When it was completed, I looked at it and thought that it summed up my world well. I also thought it would make a great merit badge if my work were some odd Scout category. Like, if you saw this patch on their sash you would know that they earned their God/King/Slave badge.

To go along with these words and image, I am including a favorite song of mine that I last played about 5 years back. This version is from a band called The Big Beats with vocalist Arlin Harmon. I don’t have a lot of info on either though from what I can glean Harmon was a highly esteemed singer out in the Northwest. It’s a solid rocking performance with a different flavor.

And in my world where I am God/King/Slave, that’s called good stuff.

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