Art as a Matter of Survival by Cheryl Whitestone

I have been a professional artist for twenty something years. I started painting when I was 10 years old and continued playing in all the 2 dimensional mediums I could get my hands on as a child with no money. My Mom was an artist so I was exposed to her art supplies and her artist friends who also tutored me. I learned sumi painting at 11, watercolors, oils, sketching and everything else, as I tagged along with my mother and her friends. I even went with Mom to do fill-in work on her murals in California, at age 11.

I am old now and still work in every art medium I can get my hands on. Nothing has changed, I guess, except I have more of a mastery of these mediums and the craft of painting. I am not rich in cash but rich in personal fulfillment. Hopefully my ship will come in soon. I have only survived as a professional by being what I have called an “art whore”, I will paint anything for anyone, and I have learned how to live on less money than most people would think possible. Of course I would be happy if this situation would change, extra cash would come in handy.

Several years ago I met Joseph Perrin, former, Head and Professor Emeritus, School of Art and Design at Georgia State University, and attended his artist salons in his studio behind his home in Atlanta. It was a great place to preview your latest art work, socialize and get constructive critiques from Joe and all the other artists in attendance. But it was much more than just that, because Joe was an armchair philosopher and he was somewhat of a stand-up comic too. Here is what he said, and handed a copy to all of us one day.
This will make you feel good!

Elements in Your Survival Kit:
The Arts
By Joseph Perrin

Without the arts you can express nothing. Without expression you can communicate nothing. Without communication you can negotiate nothing. Without negotiation you don’t survive.

Without the arts you have no clothes to wear, no house to live in, no buildings in which to work, no cars to drive, no books, magazines or papers to read, no television or movies to view, no music to hear, no pots and pans to cook in etc.
Artist Barnett Newman stated: “I believe that man discovered his godhead in the mud with a stick before he discovered that he could throw the stick as a lance.” There is also visual evidence that, in prehistoric times, humankind scratched its hopes and dreams on the walls of its caves. If this is the case, it would indicate that the arts preceded science, technology, business and other vital enterprises in the unfolding of our civilized world.

If the forgoing statements are true, should we not continue to support, and indeed increase our support for the visual, literary and performing arts and do it as a matter of vested interest and survival?

I loved this, I do want to be appreciated and this is high praise. Fellow artists keep up the good work it is a matter of our survival!

Cheryl Whitestone

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