I have been pondering the idea of someone’s life as a work of art. Frida Khalo is someone I would think of in the past, but there she stays in the past. Safely stays. I would say, “You know, Frida Khalo. Walking through the outdoor market buying mangoes was an art performance.” But I have known real people like this. Not many. But I have known some. Maybe every trip to the market wasn’t an art performance, but whenever I’ve encountered them, it’s been like visiting another planet, a beautiful world. You go to their house and its’ like stepping inside a film that’s been shot in saturated colors or grainy black and white. When I googled “life as art” I came across various books and chats about how to live a more creative life. I didn’t expect to find this. I expected to find photos of real people who’s lives are like artworks.
What I am finding now, in 2014 is that because of social media, camera phones, and photo filters, many of us are creating art out of our lives. Lives that don’t exist outside of photos, stories, and quotes shared. On the one hand, it’s an exciting, fascinating art form. On the other, it’s strangely all made up. Nobody knows what’s real anymore. So… I give you something that’s admittedly not real.
I was planning a picnic with myself from before I left the house in the morning. I had my sketchbook, art book, lunch, and blanket packed. I planned to go to a park with a pond inhabited by ducks, framed by rocks and my favorite Monterey Pines at lunch time. First, I wrote for a couple of hours at a cafe. Already I am painting a pretty picture, right? While writing, I invited a friend via text who couldn’t come. I bragged to another via text that I was going to “unplug” and told her of my unusual plans. I was so smug.
I arrived at the park and found something I hadn’t expected. The park was “full”. Yes, not only was it full at 11:30 am on a weekday, but it was full of screaming two year olds. Not four year olds. Two year olds. There were upset or excited two year olds in every nook and cranny of the park. I wouldn’t back down, though. I worked hard to find a spot facing the pond and foliage and set up my picnic. I took out my phone. (Oh, no!) It was just too pretty to go undocumented. The photo doesn’t capture the screaming. Well, now my phone was out and I texted with my sweetheart. “Oh, you finished your project early? What’s that? I should come home now and have coffee with you? Sounds delightful.” I packed up my photo composition – I mean, picnic as quickly as I could. I think I lasted about five minutes.