Zia Hassan

Art As Gift

Seeing Austin Kleon tonight at Politics and Prose was highly enjoyable. He has such interesting thoughts and I love his books. Not to mention, his blackout poetry is really creative.

One of the things he said that really stuck with me was the idea of making gifts. That we we will sometimes see a friend’s good art and then say that they should make an Etsy store or, in my case, try out for American Idol.

But in the ancient days, art was made for communication and beautification. The whole idea of folk music, I suppose, was a communal and shared experience. It’s why acoustic guitars exist: you don’t need amplifiers or electricity. We’ve made pickups for acoustics of course, but the acoustic guitar as a concept is made for small rooms and porches.

Like the father who draws his child a cartoon and puts it in his lunch bag every day, we should nourish those around us with our art. I suppose that’s what I try to do here, with a daily blog. I end up writing so many pieces that are so varied in scope. Each one is for a different person in my life though I don’t ever tell them. Perhaps I should.

Because ultimately this is what the distinction is between good art and bad art: good art was made for someone specifically. Bad art is made for everyone, and therefore no one.