I originally thought of titling this piece something like Art and Culture, but the title above tells a lot more about my relationship with culture as I try to produce what I call art. By culture, by the way, I mean what most of us denote when we use the word “Highbrow”.
In this part of the country, I am not alone with my assessment of myself and my artistic leanings. In fact, “highbrow” is an insult for many of us, I think, because it is seen as a way that people judge others negatively. It’s like saying he or she is trying to go beyond him or herself in order to put others down.
Culture is not a bad thing, but my connection to it is tenuous at best. I was raised watching the Mickey Mouse Club, Sky King, Amos and Andy, and listening to The Shadow and Dick Tracey. I spent my teenage years in a drum and bugle corps in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and working for a cabinet maker. To this day you might as well send me to prison as put me in a concert hall or have me listen to a poetry reading; and opera, oh my god, not opera.
My designs, I’m actually sad to say, come mostly from my experiences and things I’ve seen that touch me. This makes me and them poorer in some ways than they would be otherwise. It’s like trying to make all my decisions from the head of a pin, but, alas, that’s the life I’ve lived for these many years.
I heard Billy Graham preach once at a school I attended. He said that if he knew he had 3 years to live, he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. That’s how culture does enter my life: through reading history and looking at things people have made in the past. Still, if I am not judgemental, it is because I am too ignorant to be. That’s the connection between me and culture: not much.