How 'Bout Me?

As you may or may not know, in college I studied the fine arts. I took a core art history class wherein the professor requested the raise of hands of everyone that was an artist.

We all sort of glanced around, knowing we were all in the same major, and hands slowly started darting up around the room. He thanked us for our half-hearted participation and the asked a follow-up question. "How many of you have a favorite print up - one from your favorite artist, in your apartment?" This time, slightly more hands went up - and most of the room was represented. He gazed around the room and his smile turned downward. What followed is something that while initially rubbed me the wrong way - has stuck with me ever since.

"Look around the room. You're surrounded by talented artists. Why are you putting PRINTS up on the walls of your home. Support art - buy it - trade it - share it. You shouldn't' have art on your walls unless it's original."

I rolled my eyes, of course. For years I'd admired the Salvador Dali print shown above, as it hung in my room - among other favorites of well-recognized paintings. It even has a catchy name that just rolls off your tongue: Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters becomes a Portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Say that 10 times. I left the class and didn't think much of it.

Days passed and I found this professor's words sticking in my brain and I was annoyed with my realization that he really was right.

I'll spare you the boring details. I changed my ways, and to this day avoid putting prints (unless they're lithographs or typography) on my wall.

Why tell you all this? I guess I shouldn't assume you're even still reading....

I was watching the most random documentary on PBS the other night. It was interview style, but flashed between commentary from famous people that were answering random questions.

I couldn't even piece together what it was all about, but got sucked in right about the time that some comedian was going on about Social Media. I don't recall all the details of what he said, but his whole point was that social media isn't really all that social at all - but more than anything it's just an elaborate way to indulge each of our own narcissistic sides.

I rolled my eyes, of course. Social media was my (total and absolute life-overtaking) career for some time, and it's a topic I tend to think I have some expertise in.

I'll be honest - this guy's social media blabber has stuck with me all week.

Don't get me started - there are obvious benefits of social media - the list goes on and on and on - but why should I assume that anyone cares that I died my hair brown? (I did by the way - I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it.)

How presumptuous of me.

Now this guy has gotten into my head.

The moral of the story for me is simple - I can't always assume I have one single stance on something.


  1. I really love this post. It rings true.

    Social media, marketing, blogging, word of mouth is something I love. I use to think it was a community and it was my connection to the outside world (because hey, my world has significantly shrunk in the last few years since having kids). But that's not entirely true.

    For me, social media is a community but it's not narcissistic. It's our way of putting voice to our experiences and then meeting in real life. it's about showing up for each other. Supporting each other on and off line.

    Last year I was put on bed rest at 29 weeks. It was sad and scary.

    To this day, I am still humbled by the people that showed up in my life. People in this community that I had never before met in real life. Those are the people that aren't the "prints' or "copies" those are the people that are the real works of art.

    And it was all because I was able to share, put voice to what I was experiencing at the time and shout out to the inter-web "I need help". The response was phenomenal. The people in our community are phenomenal. It's not presumptuous because he has not met us.

  2. We acquired our first original painting within the first couple years we were married and won't ever feel about prints the way we feel about originals. We have a LOT of art hanging on our walls, with varying degrees of worth (one does not need to spend a fortune for good art), that are 98% original. You should come over and see.