171029 A shared vision
Yesterday I wrote about the coffee bean-sized nucleus accumbens, a shared characteristic nugget tucked deep inside the brains of 99.99 percent of we humans which, given the right environment, care and feeding of the rest of our bodies, can advance a human being or destroy itself—and even destroy all humanity.
Image from the Web
Today I am feeling the benefits of this little morsel of organic material in the good feeling it both thrives upon and regenerates—the feeling of sharing. Many pleasurable sensations derive from the nucleus accumbens—looking at or making artworks, a beautiful sunset, culturally-attuned music, for example—and for me, sharing experiences, too.
Sharing looking at an artwork is perhaps more pleasurable than experiencing an artwork by myself. Being in a movie theater is better than watching a movie streaming on a home screen by yourself. Streaming a movie with Lynda is better than doing that by myself. I never do it, in fact, unless it’s to examine the exact words of an actor, such as I did not long ago with Proof.
It occurs to me I would like to share those lines with a reader, but I will postpone this and drive toward my point: Sharing in the printmaking experience is more important than making prints alone. The only pleasure I get from making prints alone, by myself with only myself to talk to or sing is the anticipation that someone, someday, will have the print I am making.
They may, at some point in the future, look at the print and derive some pleasure merely by looking at it. They may not know what it is in the sense of its meaning or what I, the artist, was thinking, but the essence of colors, line, texture, etc. may please them—give them pleasure. And I can thank the health of their nucleus accumbens for this.
In a sense, this other person—or people all gathered around the picture in a museum with a docent’s guidance—completes the act of making the art, or what some people call the act of creation. I venture to say we’re sipping dopamine together in a pleasant, nonverbal communication across time and space. The nucleus accumbens is the source of dopamine, an organic chemical produced in humans, animals and plants.
It is the source of art, you might say, and any activity associated with art in all its forms. This includes activities not considered art at all, such as truck driving or weight-lifting, science and deep-sea diving. I am exploring what possibilities there may be in Seattle a person or a group interested in partnering with me to develop my brainchild—offspring of my 50-year printmaking career: the Northwest Print Center Incubators. Perhaps the Uptown Arts & Culture Coalition. Perhaps Artist Trust. Maybe the Seattle Print Arts will change their minds and take up a conversation because they need a central office.
Or, maybe it will never be an existing nonprofit in Seattle which will talk with me and look at my plan. It is true that—as is said in stock investing—past performance is no indication of future performance. I am thinking how my vision has not drawn support in the past encounters with nonprofits in Seattle. They don't answer my calls for help.
I learned these lessons when investing in stocks via an investment club years ago. Now, this morning, as the eastern sky grows slightly lighter, I think of my friends far, far to the east for whom it is already past lunch time and who have a Halfwood Press somewhere in their home. That press has my fingerprints on it! It may be in a closet, but they have not disposed of it like so many mass-produced consumer goods they decided that were no longer of value.
They bought the press, paid dearly for the Halfwood Press (or the WeeWoodie Rembrandt Press) due to their nucleus accumbens’ indicating that if they did so, good things would come from it. Or, even if they didn’t use the press, they could admire it. Their friends could admire it, too, or their spouse. Those who gave the press as a gift can know that it was a nice gift to receive, even if hopes for an art career didn’t pan out.
I shall end this speculative essay now, finish my online Spanish lesson (Duolingo) which is my way of stimulating my nucleus accumbens into giving me hope that, in a circuitous way, will lead to the formation of the Northwest Print Center Incubators. For example, my long-held dream is that printmaking will be the nucleus of teaching second languages to kids (and maybe adults).
Ask me about that if you’re interested in your kids or your school’s kids learning Chinese.