What it Means to be an Artist

Biutiful, a foreign film written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, is a movie I’d seen a while back. It moved me, as it discusses misfortune under a poetic guise. Curious, I decided to check its “tomato” score, and compare both the views of critics and regular moviegoers. To my surprise, most were furious over its length, vague structure, and theme. As an artist, I took this to its core. 

Art is subjective, as is most we indulge in. However, there should be a fine line between how we define entertainment and art. For example, movies such as Amour, Biutiful, even La Moustache, display imperfections, and a merciless perception on death, the dying, and the mad. Though they’re tragic lessons, each is notable to accept nonetheless. For how can we be ready to “possess” our own faults, the mistakes yet to come and be made, if we are to close ourselves in? 

If we allow the lines to blur, art will fail to hold depth. Nevertheless, although entertainment can have its share of effective lessons, they’re not enough to satisfy the themes we have yet to appreciate. Once again, an example. While Marvel has a shred of themes to learn from, it misses that desired depth, which in turn makes “character tragedy” short-term, and merely serves to assist action rather than character/theme. 

In other words, superpowers aren’t what solve problems, as they’re plausible to the imagination, not reality. Instead, hard choices in the midst of trepidation, raw courage (with hints of fright) to fight for the tangible, such as compassion, freedom, and happiness, is what makes art a gift, a contrast to entertainment which chooses to side with adventure and the unattainable over human imperfection. 

I realize this is a firm, almost stern standpoint, but take a different approach. Feel, rather than imagine. 

When you see/read/draw character burdens, feel them as if they were your own. If a character walks slowly, heavy with a guilt which threatens to drown them, feel that guilt, let it tug you down. For once your own burdens emerge, when your guilt or sorrows arrive to pull you lower, you’ll be ready. In hindsight, you’ll be able to accomplish what they (the characters) couldn’t, what most still can’t. 

I also recognize that quite a few of these examples are from one aspect of art: movie production, which isn’t fair. However, you can find it elsewhere: with books, it’s quantity over quality (The Darkest Minds vs. Something Wicked this Way Comes), and with music, it’s modernism over centuries of history and knowledge. Of course, though such changes might fit the times, poetic art shouldn’t be forgotten, nor should modern art that “acts” old be ignored. Therefore, next time you see a foreign movie, or a book you’d see in an english language course, give it a chance – it might amaze you. 

-Emilia D.

New Hip Hop Class will have Students Moving to The Beat

photo by flickr user bobbievie

photo by flickr user bobbie vie

Local middle school students listen up: If you’re interested in learning the latest hip-hop moves, then sign up for the new 6-week Hip-Hop class that’s part of the Middle School Enrichment Program at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center.

More than 40 years old, hip-hop dance became widely known after the first professional street-based dance crews formed in the 1970s. Led by Artist Director Sharon Sandor of Sol Dance Academy, the hour-long class, which starts February 26 at 3:45 p.m., will teach students an array of cool moves, and they’ll be invited to show off their newfound skills at this year’s Arts Alive Festival and Street Painting event on May 3.
Along with hip-hop, the Middle School After-School Enrichment Program features a cornucopia of courses like print making, guitar, pottery, financial basics for teens, Algebra, chess club and art.

Participants must be in grades 6 – 8 to take part in the courses that each cost $25. Register online at econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org or call 949-470-3062.

The Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center is at 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA.

Mark Your Calendar for Mission Viejo’s Arts Alive Festival

arts_alive_logoMission Viejo’s upcoming Arts Alive Festival, scheduled for May 4 and 5, is an amazing event that is worth looking forward to every year.

It is a family-friendly art festival that features chalk art, local vendors, different types of entertainment, and a variety of food booths. The chalk art, drawn by both amateurs and professionals alike on the blacktop in the parking lot of Norman P. Murray Center, is awe-inspiring and is an example of how great art can bring a picture to life. But don’t worry if your drawing skills aren’t up to the main artists on the street– you can practice your skills on little open space tiles available for purchase with a pack of multi-colored chalk. Your art might turn out better than you think!

The theme of the event varies every year and influences the subject of the art. This year it is the 1960s. In addition to the wonderful art, there are booths from local vendors that feature unique goods that you aren’t able to buy everywhere else. There are is also different types of featured entertainment, including dance and music. Lastly, an event wouldn’t be complete without lots of good food and there is always a great variety of food options available. The Arts Alive festival is an awesome event that makes art accessible and introduces it to a whole new generation. It isn’t to be missed!

The Arts Alive Festival happens May 4 from 12pm – 8pm and May 5 from 12pm – 5pm at the Norman P. Murray Community Center at 24931 Veterans Way in Mission Viejo. A shuttle runs from the Civic Center on both days. Visit the official Arts Alive website for more information and to get a look at the Festival’s previous years.

-Kiera C., 12th grade