It occurred to me early this afternoon while dawdling on the patio of the golf club leisurely perusing the latest accomplishments of artist Kenneth Emig of the Village of Clayton in the County of Lanark and Province of Ontario that he like most successful artists is a member of a preferred class. Though this may resound of “nose in the air” culture, I mean it instead as a frank and purely deductive observation. Permit me to explain.
Years ago when I began practicing law my burgeoning focus upon the material world ascended quite literally from the ground up. I moved progressively from real estate to Persian rugs to mahogany furniture to silverware, porcelain and stemware. Finally after having sated my interest in the rudimentary hardware of accommodation and household provisions I began frequenting art galleries for expression more evocative and scintillating. Not that I didn’t adore my Chelsea Ship’s Bell!
Art is unquestionably the outpost of refinement; that is, its ethereal and commonly exotic domaine represents the distillation of ingenuity. It is the final exhaustion of living as perceived through the sentiment, intelligence and experience of others who very often are superior exhibitors of the human race. This extraordinary vicarious association is thus symbiotic between the masses and the artist. The elevation acquired by one through the comparatively vulgar grasp of business and commerce interacts with the delicate and cerebral experience of the artist.
I naturally include within the scope of artists – and the reciprocal dialectic of which I speak – those who dedicate themselves not only to the visual arts but also to music, literature and the dramatic stage. I am also reminded of Oscar Wilde’s willingness to sing for his dinner by sharing his uproarious wit at table with the distinguished inhabitants of London’s posh mansions. Trade at any level – whether above or under table – among the qualified or scrupulous is forever reciprocal and always at a price. Once again I emphasize the sharing of the arrangement. Just as we all want something, the evolution of the symbiotic association is mutually advantageous. Not being an artist myself, I hesitate to estimate the productive mindset; but as former businessman who also worked for a living, I’m guessing that the artist’s work is by no means a walk in a meadow on a breezy summer afternoon. Yet the contradiction of product makes one the yearning attraction to the other. Ultimately our differences are polar. Yet the artist pulls the neophyte into the airy mix. One is thus assembled in that preferred class.
Talking about art can be like talking about the constitutional authority for the manufacture of oleomargarine; it’s not for everyone. I happen to be one of those who prefers art and syllogistic reasoning to the score of a soccer game. People who love art, love artists. And artists love to be loved! That’s what I mean about preferred class – the ones with the quirky pastimes and devotions. The ones with their heads about the clouds.
Artists have another part in this social alliance. They have to recognise that theirs is a niche market. They are our spiritual avenues, the stimulus when we look for inspiration. Artwork may be the last thing to be acquired; but the reward is admission to that preferred class!