We all have a type. Art lovers all have artistic sensibilities, and more often than not, art lovers will naturally gravitate toward them. In certain ways, in art as much as in life, you can’t really control what you love.
But here’s an interesting experiment: what if you tried?
But before we get into that, a bit of back story for you. A week ago my friend and I were discussing the concept of ‘artistic immortality,’ or the legacies and staying power of certain artists through time. We explored the hypothetical situations of a poet living her whole life writing poetry that never saw print in her lifetime. The two contrasting situations would be that her poems would either see the light of day and gain an audience after her death (i.e. John Kennedy Toole’s posthumous Pulitzer-prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces) or they won’t. Either way, she’d never know.
This got me thinking. While the above situations, the latter of which can easily be more true than we know, can be sad, we are lucky that art can be immortal – I suppose it is just up to us to determine such things.
I live in New York City, a town brimming over the edge with artistic history and energy. My workplace, where I spent the majority of my waking hours, is essentially a hotbed of those two things. I work with people whose artistic sensibilities both overlap and differ widely from one another. I’ve learned from them. An artist whose work they’ve known and loved may never have crossed your path before. Out goes ‘fan ownership’ (‘I’ve read Bolaño since he was alive!’) when you realise the beauty and fortune of being able to discover something new at any time. Furthermore, outside the bookstore walls, the city is full of artists trying everything they can to do things . Throughout history, so many people have lived trying to do things. The least we can do is pay attention and give everyone a chance.
In the end, it will still boil down to what you really truly enjoy. That can’t be forced or faked. It can only be found, so why not look under every rock?