Ai Weiwei….Han Han…. Catherine Johnson…..TRUE Artists struggle…

July 1, 2011

I was VERY happy to hear about Ai Weiwei’s release from imprisonment in China …. for unspecified “economic crimes”…..

I had wanted to go see his exhibit of porcelain Sunflower seeds…in the vast Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London….the area is like a football field in length…..you were originally allowed to walk on them…through them…but it caused dust to stir up …which some people felt was hazardous for one’s health …so one ended up having to go up a floor or two and look down on them…would love to have been able just to walk through them …as THAT is what Weiwei intended…

I have just been reading an article in the New Yorker about another artist….Han Han…..younger than Weiwei…and different in that he is a writer and a race car driver….is now 28…..but back in 1999..when he had flunked  out of 10th grade…as he had been spending the whole time at the back of the classroom writing a novel “Triple Door”…”the story of a Chinese high-school student slogging throught ‘hours of end-less emptiness,’ copying lessons ‘from the bloackboard to the notebook to the exam’ ” …

well he found an editor who “was enthusiastic and printed thirty thousand copies.  They sold out in 3 days. Another 30,000 copies  were printed and they sold out too.”

“Eventually “Triple Door” .. sold 2 million copies…making it one of China’s best-selling novels of the past two decades…” he has become VERY popular in China…

he wrote on Weibo…which is akin to China’s twitter….merely the word “Wei” (Hello)….and three quarters of a million followers signed up to await his next one.  (He has yet to return)

Wan Wan grew up with with his grandparents…..whose simple  rural house in Tinglin….. he goes back to often….to get to his bedroom you have to climb through a window….as he says “A simple design flaw….” ..they just  forgot to put a door into this side”

on his blog he once wrote:

“My grandfather can identify the day of the week by the color of the water.   The stench is everywhere.  The Environmental Protection Bureau says the water quality is normal, though the river is full of dead fish….At various points, my home town has planned to build Asia’s largest indrustrial harbor, and Asia’s largest electronics shopping center.  So far, all it has produced is thousands of acres of rubble, unfinished and wasted.”

in illustrating the Chinese of today…he wrote about how a migrant worker ….”had to travel 62 hours to get home…standing the whole time in the aisle of the train…wearing an adult diaper”….

in his blog he wrote:

Work for a whole year, stand in line for a whole day, buy a full-priced ticket, wear diapers, stand the whole way home….how dignified”

The New Yorker goes on ..

“He hails from the first generation born after Mao and the advent of one-child policy”

…..a generation after the first baby boomer of the USA…. when we went onto to challenge our  parents…society ..the Vietnam war..social mores …….one of the  GREATEST changes in the US’s social structure…..I remember so well back then …one Christmas I stopped by NYC before going onto my home to my family in DC…and saw “Oh Calcutta”..”Hair” ..”Boys In The Band”..

….and around our candle lit dining table my mom wanted to know what plays I had seen and how I liked them….I just sort of brushed it off and said they were wonderful…as I did NOT think my parent would understand …nudity and homosexuality…which at the time I was struggling with…

BUT it WAS a time like no other….

I have this wonderful friend ..Catherine Johnson……. a TRUE…struggling  Artist… she has ALWAYS  believed  in her self…as I DO….

… her life has…been a physical and emotional challenge………she has been a painter…..

until recently she has just branched out into poetry….of which I know nothing….she did a MP3 recording recently that just blew me away…as hearing her speak it..and knowing her…it brings the poem REALLY to LIFE!!!!

her website is: http://catherineljohnson.wordpress.com/

and to hear her reading:

HURRICANE FINAL.mp3 HURRICANE FINAL.mp3
3521K   Play   Download

the only thing I KNOW…..as time goes on with the internet and instant communication….is that TRUE ART …in free democratized countries …. . well the appreciation of it…… will be totally lost by the masses who  have become accustomed to instant REALITY….

BUT as the circle of life continues they will tire of it and the TRUE artists will be “popular” again……

for an artist it truly does not matter…though they like being appreciated…..they CANNOT financially  exist just on good feelings……

at the end of the day……they just CANNOT stop breathing their Creativity ….to their financial momentary detriment

as this internal Life Force  is WHAT keeps them striving…

paddling toward their Unendable…. Goal……..

that  only  THEY ….. can  see on the Horizon ………(sigh!!!)

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