#tbt: marfa, big bend & art saving the world
Four years ago this week, Marcus and I headed out to west Texas, for a long weekend getaway. Friends had been telling us for years that we needed to visit Marfa. "I don't know how to explain it," they'd say. "But it's magical. You have to go."
So we went. And as soon as we arrived, we looked around this tiny Texas town -- too small for a stoplight, even -- and thought, "Huh."
It did not look magical. I mean, it was cute, but it didn't seem magical.
But after a 9-hour drive, we were hardly able to turn around and go home, so we walked around the town. And we visited the galleries. And we experienced the incredibly weird Marfa lights.
And damned if it wasn't magical.
One of the things that makes Marfa singular is that even though it started as a railroad water stop in the late 1800's and didn't grow into much else, in 1971 an artist named Donald Judd moved there from New York City, and began making art in earnest. Many other artists followed suit, and now, the area is pretty much an art colony, in addition to just being the nearest town for ranchers in the area (and I use the word "town" loosely -- there are less than 2,000 residents). I love this: the idea of simply picking up sticks and going to a place like Marfa -- with its wide open skies, and barren landscape -- to just create. In fact, I think there's a reason that artists take to the desert to create: the lack of greenery and endless skyline must feel like a blank canvas, full of potential. There's nothing to clutter your mind as you imagine your work. It's just openness.
Recently, a few dear friends of mine -- folks who actually don't even know each other in real life -- have said to me that they believe that the people who will save us all, in the end, will be the artists. That it is art -- the writing, the painting, the song, the dance, the voice, the words -- that will capture the imaginations of people, to the point where they may start believing in the good in each other, and the importance of connecting with each other, different though we all may be. I think there's something to that, honestly. I've certainly lost faith in the politicians. I think now, more than ever, it's becoming more important for each of us to do our do. It's important for each of us to express ourselves. It's the only way to be heard.
And since it's not practical for all of us to head out to the desert to be artists, here's some inspiration from that trip four years ago to help inspire your own art.
Make it, whatever your art may be.
Because your art, whatever it is, has magic in it.
Soundtrack: Retrograde by James Blake