“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
― Bertrand Russell
Is art an answer to a question, or is art “the” question? Growing up I wasn’t privy to much art culture (unless Ogden’s Street Festival in the early ’90s counts as art), so my answer will more than likely differ from those immersed in the arts at an early age. I do know, without hesitation, that art and human beings are complicated and intertwined subjects, that often times leave us more confused than certain.
While I was skipping out on “culture” and instead attending festivals, I found that interactions with other people are an art form rarely recognized. I find it fascinating that all groups, types, shapes, colors of people will cram themselves into blocked off streets and hang out together. Big burly men are rubbing elbows with metrosexual men at the beer stands. Well-dressed women stand in line with T-shirt and skinny jean-clad women. Hipsters are sharing space with cowboys. Gay people are sharing space with straight people. Cats and dogs … well, you get the point.
Isn’t it fascinating how each interaction between people is a canvas waiting to be deciphered? Watching these interactions between people, outside of festivals and in the mundane moments of our lives, is a small reflection of our inner selves. How we interact with others says a lot about who we are.
When I enter a space/place I immediately see question marks. Each person is a story waiting to be told. Each person desires to be heard and understood. Each person is a canvas just waiting for someone to stop and reflect, decipher and take time to understand. Every space/place we enter, where other human beings are present, is a museum of art. Much like art, people come in different genres. You have your modern human, your pop art human, your classic human, etc. Because of these differences, the “viewer” will either feel an immediate connection or they will have to take more time to understand the meaning of the “art.”
I urge you to start seeing other humans as question marks. Dig deeper, ask questions and pay attention to the nonverbal queues the other person is sending you. Too often we see others as periods or exclamation marks, but the true beauty lies in the questions we fail to ask. Human interaction is the truest art form there is in a world so large. To connect with a stranger, to truly begin to understand his story, is the salve needed in a world that is quickly becoming disconnected and wounded.