Unnecessary Art

Hello, dear reader! Thank you for clicking and saying yes to “unnecessary art.” And for clicking this out of obligation because we are: family, friends, colleagues, or lovers. Or because it is Friday afternoon and your brain refuses to function after lunchtime.

Just looking at the neat white box of my internet browser makes me feel drunk with power. “What can I say?” “Will anyone read this?” “Will what I say make a difference, my ugly bundle of thoughts, swimming amongst a sea of lists, like ‘365 ways that Chipotle customers are the worst‘?” (Oh, now I am craving a burrito bowl.)

But the act of writing, just like my super-serious attempts at creating exclusive “clubs” with other middle schoolers, it always feels more important at the time. We made membership cards out of wide ruled notebook paper and stamped them with our carved-out erasers to legitimatize ourselves. You had to be quick about painting the entire eraser in red Crayola marker or it would dry up before you got a chance to stamp anything (or you’d end up with a red smear on your card instead of a nifty seal of approval). In the end, we realized that nobody took us seriously, and some even accused me of being too bossy. We quickly disbanded after 3 meetings. Actually, they probably kicked me out and carried on with their meetings and continued to busymake with markers and stamps.

My journey in making art and writing has been somewhat similar, not so neatly though that each instance from my middle school life can layer on top of my art life, like the results of a faked science fair experiment. (What, you didn’t carefully craft the inclining scatterplot graph, at a perfect 45-degree angle?) In this convoluted way, I am trying to say that oftentimes, I did what I wanted and what made me happy, only to realize others didn’t “get it” or me. Thus began the self-love/self-hate cycle of a writer. The “self-hate” portion was compounded by my knowledge that the pursuit of the arts is often considered a frivolous, nose-picking, nose-thumbing activity. “Whatever, I could have totally slapped some paint into a square shape–where’s my party?”

Despite this unwelcomed, outside knowledge, I have a kernel of bright smallness that continues to grow. Despite the preconceived notions about art being inconsequential or unimportant, I know that its strength could stem from the fact that it appears unimportant. What is life without its luxuries and extravagances? Or without the mundanity of the everyday life, which is transformed through intent focus and attention, resulting in a playful, wonderful observation about how “sugar is not a vegetable“? That’s when shit really gets turnt.

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Fendi’s fur monster keyrings, totally ridiculous and “unnecessary” and compelling

So yes, I live in a time and place in which my own school does not prioritize the arts and let their students enter their decrepit, unsafe buildings. I may not write poetry that is not considered “necessary” or “important” in understanding our human condition, because I choose write about things like body hair removal or selfies, which are deemed unimportant and niche, unworthy of poetizing (word I just made up), but I would argue that it is quite alright to revel in the superfluous, the decorative, the homemade rubber eraser stamps.

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