Growing up my parents only had one bumper sticker.
“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
There are many things in our childhoods that we habituate to, never really noticing what a great an effect they have on our lives.
In my youth, I took its meaning for granted.
I was brought up in the arts. A great many of my parents’ close friends are amazingly talented artists. I thought everyone had such role models; painters, sculptors, composers, writers etc.
I thought all small kids grew up repeatedly going to gallery openings, The Legion of Honor, de Young and the SFMOMA.
My dad wanted us to have not only an appreciation for art, but an understanding of the process and history.
When my sister and I brought him our childhood works he would critique them-
“If you move this part more toward the foreground your subject will ‘pop’ more.”
“Next time you set up the shot put your subject slightly to the side, instead of dead center. It makes the picture more dynamic.”
This drove my sister and me CRAZY!
“Why can’t you just say ‘WOW! Good job honey?!’ Like everyone else’s parents!”
As much as we tried to ignore his suggestions they did get in out heads. I often hear his critiques, even now, when I am examining some project that is just not quite right.
Random acts of kindness where also a big focus of our upbringing. The homeless packs my dad put together and then insisted we distribute in San Francicso, San Jose and Santa Cruz are now the archetype for the “WWDD Homeless pack project” that my sister and I started after he passed last year.
We were taught to give money and doggie bags from nice restaurants to panhandlers because we were fortunate to have extra.
We were taught to be kind.
These simple concepts shaped my adult life and behavior.
When I look at the things around me I see so many senseless acts of beauty. It is undeniable that the message of that long-ago bumper sticker was received. The rooms of our home are original-
The walls hang with mixed media sculpture/paintings.
A verity of quilts and pillows top each place of rest.
One of the projects I believe typifies the endeavor of senseless beauty is a chess set I made a couple years ago. I sculpted and painted each piece. The theme was Summer Vs Winter.
Strangely, when I conceived the characters we did not have the bees or Isis and so the knight pieces on each side turned out to be self-fulfilling prophecies.
I am blessed that my parents showed us that what is truly important in life is not that complicated (with the notable exception of my dad’s critiques.)
Live. Create. Love. Be kind. Be generous. Be yourself and above all;
“Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Act of Beauty”
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