Art Deco and Donuts
While heralding the new Dunkin Donuts in downtown Miami, I took a sad pause and realized the building that I once delighted in sketching was transformed into a Dunkin Donuts shop. It made me realize the important role we artists play as historians. Sometimes an artist’s drawing is the only documentation of past events or landmarks. Artists preserve heritage through art. My current post card series “Art Décoratif” seeks to salvage the neglected and preserve popular Art Deco buildings in South Beach through art.
During a postcard talk at the Miami Main Library, post cards were described as mementos of a former time. The decline of postcards sales due to social media with digital cameras was lamented. I am all for social media, but I think it elevates rather than diminishes the important role artists play as historians. In the book “Ruskin on Turner” by Dinah Birch, it is said “Cameras don’t think, but photographers do”, and Ruskin found no reason to despise their work. What a painter can offer is not so much superior as incomparable. Every nuance of his image is a product of the human mind, engaging or failing to engage with what it perceives. Line, colour and light are translated into experience and thought egotistical illusion and evasion in a bad picture, honesty and perception in good work. Thus the picture becomes a text, to be read and understood as we might a poem, or passage from the Bible.”
The artist’s message transcends time and place. There are no language barriers in art. No technology bugs to work out.
While social media is a great platform for instant communication, it has not replaced the important role artists play as historians. How to retain social media records for future generations remains a daunting challenge. According to the article “Saving Government Tweets Is Tougher Than You Think” by Joseph Marks ”federal agencies should establish working groups to determine when agency social posts constitute federal records and how to retain them for posterity.” Obviously, there are some technology bugs to work out.