Saturday, June 22, 2013

Art and culture

10 Julia (pronounce One oh Julia) as opposed to “Art and Culture 101”
Or the need to feed one’s “soul”, “inner being” or whatever-other-term-is-currently-popular.

Throughout the ages, man has – when not scrambling to survive, and sometimes even then as various drawings in caves (Lascaux) around the world show – shown the urge to both embellish his surroundings and to transmit his knowledge.

Slight diversion as I was trying to find out how the term “101” started: Wikipedia’s article is edifying – so for those of you who need more knowledge: mailto:

Anyway, there are many ways of embellishing our surroundings or transmitting our knowledge – way too many to enumerate here. So I’ll settle for “art” in terms of the visual arts and “culture” as it refers to my own preference: music.

Visual arts such as painting, sculpture and photography
I got my first camera, a Brownie, when I was 10 and have never stopped taking pictures. Not all are good so the new digital cameras are perfect for me – I can take a 100 pictures and erase 99 and still think that the 1 left isn’t really what I wanted as opposed to wasting rolls of film and finding nothing at the end.  Although I have never made a living with my camera, it has supplied many hours of true enjoyment: there is the odd prize won, the even odder photo sold –regardless, it is still a passion.

A passion my older son shares – here is the link to his latest postings:

My younger son shows talent in the areas of pen and ink drawings, sculpture and music. He obtained a B.A. in Art and we still fight over who should keep his polar bear. Only time will tell what becomes of all of his talents, he is currently working on musical clips and writing.

Growing up in a middle-class family in the mid-50s meant piano lessons: the teacher must have despaired as I hated having to give recitals and during one famous lesson simply left my piano bench and ran home (my mother didn’t take that well; I had to turn around, go back and apologize). Later in elementary school I started clarinet and was part of the school’s band. This was much more to my taste as it allowed me to join others and not have to be in the spotlight: I continued throughout high school – and my last school’s band eventually won the third prize for marching bands in San Francisco. This same band cut a record, which still languishes in my cupboard – lacking a turntable to play for many, many years.  In high school I found the love of my musical life: the organ. I took lessons even whilst in France as an exchange student, but “real” life and the necessity to earn a living saw that stop at the end of my studies.

Marriage, a family, work – I always intended attending concerts, but going back into town after a long day was not particularly attractive.  However, in recent years I have returned to classical concerts much to my enjoyment. I have become more eclectic in my tastes and can happily attend a classical concert one evening and a pop one the next.

I have been able to hear some of the greats and have attended concerts in many venues, including in a Museum.  One museum kind of brings together my love of music and the visual arts: the Giannada Museum in Martigny, Switzerland 

There I heard Joshua Bell; there I have seen the photos of Imsand (He and Ansel Adams are my all-time favorites). In addition to the changing exhibitions, there is an Auto Museum (used to always send my dad a note on the postcard of the Ford Model-T) and large grounds throughout which are to be found many sculptures (Moore and Rodin included!).  This is a do-able museum: one can spend 15 minutes or an hour or two. Together with the de Young in San Francisco, the Quai d’Orsay in Paris it is a personal favorite. 

Art and music - enough to cater to my mood-of-the-moment. That, my family, my friends, my travels = a richness of life that many never know: I enjoy every minute.