Perhaps mine are worthless paintings. Then my creative offerings are nothing more than the scribblings of yet another artistic inhabitant, like many before me.
BUT if there is some lasting quality or value to my paintings, I wanted my voice, my marks. my scribblings to have a positive effect on the world I lived in. I ask myself “What note, what message can I leave behind to inspire someone to greatness? Or to inspire someone to choose love over hate, peace over violence.” The Notes, the thoughts of those who’ve journeyed before me have affected my steps. Their words and ideas have lingered in my mind, like a nagging parent, prodding me to go this way or that.
Toni Morrison’s “…“Had they paints or clay or knew the discipline of dance, or strings; had they anything to engage their tremendous curiosity and their gift for metaphor, they might have exchanged the restlessness and preoccupation with whim for an activity that provided them with all they yearned for. And like any artist with no artform, they became dangerous.” Inspired me. These words became my call to arms. Her words were instructed me to “try” to help someone. TO CARE. These words not written for me, but read by me, changed me and forever altered my journey.
The other day, I read these words by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,I’ve altered them somewhat so that they are specific to my life’s vision:
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that my work is in the MoMA —that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that my art is collected around the world—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.
I’d like somebody to mention that day that TMNK, tried to use his talents serving others.
I’d like for somebody to say that day that TMNK tried to love somebody…
Yes, if you want to say that I was AN ARTIST, say that I was a AN ARTIST for justice. Say that I was AN ARTIST for peace. I was AN ARTIST for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind…
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a painting or song,
If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my painting will not be in vain.
And I’m just a NOBODY – Imagine what SOMEBODY like YOU could do. Are You taking notes? I am. – TMNK