Thursday, March 29, 2012

”What’s Love got ta’ do, got ta’ do with it?”

Photo from contact in Uganda

 The words in the title are from Tina Turner’s greatest hit. “What’s love got to do with it?” Why, everything, Tina!

No matter what we give our heart or our time to, if we have the passion and the love, we’re bound to be successful. Why? Because what we love we give our devotion to; we give it our all.

Bert Sugar, prolific author and promoter of life and boxing, loved what he did. But that wasn’t always the case. Sugar started out as an attorney and then worked in various professions before he started doing what he loved: boxing. When he started writing about what he loved, and engaging in the technical aspects of the sport, his success soared. He died a few days ago doing what he loved.

Work in Progress -- Fish Market -- "You Buy?"

Successful artists or professionals have one thing in common: passion. Their love of what they do drives them to produce more and more of what they love. It skyrockets them to success, but not over night. The path to success requires blood, sweat and tears and the willingness to accept criticism, anger, and hatred; especially if your work has a political intent. One artist comes to mind: a Utah artist named Jon McNaughton.

The Los Angeles Times calls McNaughton’s work “junk” because they disagree with his ideas and his politics:

"Titled "One Nation under God," the earlier hack propaganda seems content to pretend that the United States is a Christian nation, with Jesus as the law-giver. (Weirdly, a figure identified as James Madison stands directly behind the Constitution, even though Madison famously rejected any religious sanction for government authority.) A professor of constitutional law who knows that America was instead founded as a secular nation, one where the freedom to practice any religion or no religion is fundamental, would probably blanch if he saw it.”

McNaughton’s response is a quote from Washington:

"I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion." (from the Magna-Char ta (constitution) of our country.)

You may or may not agree with McNaughton or with the L.A. Times. But to say that McNaughton wasted paint and canvas and that his work is “junk” is an atrocity in my lowly opinion. He is a superb illustrator who is being “vilified” for differing with the political agenda of “some of the people,” but not all.

It is interesting to note that the L.A. Times and their ilk were fond of the urine soaked painting of Christ that received rave reviews by the "left."

"He Lives!" -- 16x20 mixed media
When you follow your heart and mind, your work and your opinions may not be popular. You may be labeled a “hack” and your product called “junk.” So were the works of Van Gogh and many of his contemporaries who dared to speak out and to create what they felt strongly about.

Do you have the courage to stand up for your beliefs, or will you succumb to popular opinion and the forces of power? Freedom in art and expression must never be suppressed, especially by government or the media that serves that government. The perfect example of this is in Iran, and Russia, and Venezuela, and in Cuba to name a few.

"Americana" 16x20 acrylic
America is the world’s last Bastian of freedom. What will you do to preserve and keep it alive?