Come Together; the power of art in Vancouver, BC
The best thing about the power of Art, whether it be a painting, a film or a concert, are the stories behind the work. The ability for the Art to elicit an emotional response, and forge a connection with the viewer, is something of magic. I find that people connect to my work more, when they learn some of the story behind the making of the work, or the inception of the idea that inspired the work. I never know how a painting I make, will affect viewers. When someone connects to a painting, it is fascinating, and sometimes surprising, to find out what that connection is for the viewer.
This past weekend we were fortunate enough to enjoy legendary rock star, Paul McCartney, in concert in Vancouver for his ‘Freshen Up’ world tour. As the performer is now 77 years old and has been performing for over 60 years, his music has forged deep connections with the fans, so deep it can be felt emanating from the crowd. Over three hours, and 36 songs spanning six decades, the energy emanating from the audience was more powerful than the megawatt sound-system blasting out the guitar riffs and melodies.
In the crowd there were many stories, people sharing and connecting, over their love of music. I connected with a woman sitting directly in front of us. She had been at the Beatles concert in Vancouver in 1964, when they broke in North America. She says the screaming of the girls was so loud, she could not hear the music. She was thrilled to be able to sit and enjoy hearing Paul, live, for the first time. Having just had hip replacement surgery, she was told not to travel or sit for long periods, but traveled anyway to see the concert. She flew in for the concert from Fort St. John, and later found she grew up in Edmonton, and was born in my home town of Victoria BC, at the same hospital where I peaked my head into the world.
For many, McCartney and The Beatles inspired generations of artists to write, record, paint, draw and even create films. Their art influenced, and continues to influence generations of creatives. I know for myself, my days in the studio would be a lot less lively without music, and most days I am listening to Sirius satellite radio Beatles channel. As Jerry Seinfeld has noted, the channel is a ‘revelation’. The love was flowing and then McCartney gave a shout out to a young Indigenous singer from Cape Breton , who had recently recorded a Mi’kmaq version of The Beatles ‘Blackbird’. This version in the teen singers native language, was another example of art inspiring art, and art carrying on to the next generation, ready for it to me re-imagined in new ways.
The weekend prior to the concert I was in attendance at the opening of the recent Danny Boyle film, Yesterday, inspired by The Beatles. The story is about a struggling musician who realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles, after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. I loved this take on The Beatles and their influence on popular music, it made me question the Earth without the existence of Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, or Picasso. It’s a great question and a timely one, what if great Art and artists never existed? What a world would it be? It would be a very grey, indeed.
Whether it’s visual or aural, Art has the power to connect us and inspire us on many levels. The sharing of these experiences, brings us closer. A world without the Arts, would be that much colder, indeed. Where will you get your next dose of Art?