Art and Affection
By Zuzanna Wasiluk
A letter written as a declaration of a personal discovery I made this year, in which I discern how our internal understanding of art exists in the context of our environment, and the influence others have to equate their internal dialogue toward the beauty of a painting into a general likeability for others.
I recently went over how to write a proper letter with my Girls Write Now mentor in a writing exercise about a hypothetical meeting with my idol. I will preface this letter by saying that I checked over it a few times to balance out every element, from the most minutiae of detail and the banishment of passive voice. I hate it now! I am relieved at the requirement of making this letter digital because Girls Write Now has spared you from reading my handwriting, which is not a pleasant introduction. My handwriting, specifically, is an infuriating combination of words pinched together on lines and in between. I don’t know how far your luck goes, but I wouldn’t bet against it in my lifetime.
I’m currently sitting at the table that’s proven to be the most comfortable to write letters of personal discoveries made outside of the classroom. I look up occasionally to see the close-to-horrid painting my mother is so affectionate and understanding toward. During quarantine, I noticed how quickly people turn to art to soften themselves and deal with the current situation. Given this, I believe I should kiss the wall it hangs on for giving me the answer to the question posed during the workshop, share a discovery you made this year about yourself and the world.
The painting of warm tones that previously brought me nothing but a guttural reaction while drinking my tea is a source of comfort to me during my breakfast now. This year, I’ve discovered how affectionate people can become once they’ve turned to art for comfort, and they soften their defenses to instinctively feel the images wash over them in their time of grief. I should say that these warm tones only appeal to me in light of the happiness of eating the sweetest apricot. The relationship between satisfaction and affection in art is due in large part to the connection between sight and taste. A thought that occurred to me during quarantine after examining my family and their peculiarities in an image that captivated us.
I recognize the commitment my mother has made with this painting to be instinctive. She purchased it from the artist in a rush of excitement and satisfaction toward an image that softened her senses and made her more affectionate. Alternatively, paintings and images need to satisfy both a visual and intellectual sense for me, and the rush of excitement merely leaves a marking of the impression the painting has made.
For my mother to appreciate my painting style or the paintings I have an appreciation for, she would need to hear me talk about the painting and the value it has to me. In short, if she hasn’t grasped the connection on her own, the catalyst would be to taste the imprint of the painting from a different perspective. In my case, my attempts in relating to my mother’s tastes come from contact with a feeling-provoking food or drink. Art galleries have recognized this connection and offer tastes to accompany the viewing of paintings, whether it’s finger foods or something as luxurious as champagne. I had not realized that this connection had existed and chalked up the art gallery aspect to good marketing, which could still be largely responsible for this action.
The discovery I made during quarantine wasn’t the secret to art or its occupation of physical space and thought but rather an acknowledgment of how art passes between two individuals like a caduceus. This thought wouldn’t have occurred to me in class or with glimpses of the art in the casual presence of my family yet developed at the unhappily placed time of confinement, without access to outside visual stimulus.
Deepest Acknowledgment of Art,
This was a letter I had written during a Letters to Young Writers workshop in November. I was sitting on an island in my kitchen during the meeting, where the painting hangs, over-eating a late breakfast/early lunch. Initially, I disliked the painting because of its headache-inducing warm tones, it still lacks a thoughtful composition in technique, but its importance comes from how it makes others feel. Viewing it through the lens of a personal discovery prompt allowed me to express my views on the painting and its effect on my family during isolation.
Zuzanna Wasiluk grew up in Greenpoint and had multitudes of pets in her early childhood. However, she’s been reduced to two kittens at the moment, Cricket and Felix. She attends high school in Brooklyn, NY, and a Polish school in Greenpoint to connect to her roots. She enjoys creative writing and painting as personal hobbies and joined Girls Write Now to develop as a writer in a more comprehensive direction in an inclusive environment.
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