|Since I first created this website six months ago, I have been asked by so many people to explain what exactly I "am" and what exactly I am "doing." Well, here—this is an open letter to all of you that answers those questions and articulates how I think, what I believe, and what I am striving to do. It also signifies what this website, this ongoing project of mine, is really all about! I am actually a writer, but I am also a huge lover of beauty, of course, and well, read on and you'll see the connection I make! Thanks, and email me with any of your responses or feedback. See ya! ~The Fashioniste~ (And if you don't want to read through it all, I have bolded what I believe to be some of the more important parts...)|
First, three small collections of relevant quotes:
Here’s the first:
Here’s the second:
And here’s the third, which I have arranged into a little paragraph:
Pan-plagiarism, you say? I will provide my citations next week. At the moment it is the ideas that matter, as ideas are the blood that moves the wheels of history…. And now:
A Statement of My Mission:
This is my statement about the mission of this whole venture, and there are many things I am going to address: I am going to define “culture,” both what it means in relation to the arts, and where it stands in relation to society and individuality. I am going to delineate the connection that I see as running from fashion, through art, to literature, and I am going to make a case for the artistic tradition, that is, for a knowledge of and familiarity with past works of beauty, which not only enables us to draw more inspiration, but to intensify our own enjoyment of thinking, feeling, and living, while sharpening our own vision as artists and as natural admirers of beauty....
As someone who spent four years as a student at a large university, and has spent the last four years as a student of the real world, I have seen that there is too much of a gap between a lot of the interesting work that goes on in the insulated bubble of academia and the mass-media-informed, bustling world outside of that bubble, so let me launch this opening salvo and admonish all those who think and study, that one who sincerely cares about art and thinking should not flee into some abstract philosophy, but should actively sacrifice him- or herself to the preservation, or rather perseverance of culture in the eyes and mind of the general public. It is they who are responsible for keeping it alive. And it is for this reason I am strongly opposed to dreamy idealism. And I would actually go so far as to say I deplore everything that only instructs me without increasing or immediately stimulating my own activity. Because really?—books are for nothing but to inspire, and it was a good author who once said that if the reader wasn’t going to read his book, then the useless pile of pages should be used as kindling in the flue of that reader’s kitchen stove, as then it would at least serve a practical purpose. This is a great way for a thinker to think. “Think before you write” is a good rule of thumb, but “Think before you think,” an even better one, and to read great authors is to think by way of their minds for a while and thereby advance quite dramatically in your own intelligence and understanding. The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries, and culture, according to one such mind, is "to know the best that has ever been thought and said in the history of the world."
Book are for nothing but to inspire, indeed, and art is for nothing but to inspire, but that point is much easier to understand and would be almost redundant if we were talking about music and music’s power to inspire. But it can certainly be said, and has been said, that all art aspires to the condition of music…! To have that same effect on awakening and invigorating our creative spirit, and taking us above place and time—to have that effect that music has on all of us, is an effect similar to that which can be felt from reading words that touch closely to our hearts, or seeing paintings that move us to a deeper understanding of life itself, or even seeing an outfit on someone, yes, a work of fabrics stitched together, that shows us a new kind of identity, a new kind of person that we never thought could exist… And we need someone to introduce us to so many more artists and many more writers, aside from the few teachers who do that for a living, but who present us with only the extremely limited selection that is allowed in school. The traditions of art and literature, from the West to the East, is far and wide, and there are many outstanding and inspiring creators we never “meet,” because they are deemed inessential to the curriculum of the established education system—even their names are nowhere heard and nowhere mentioned. And as it happens, all too often the majority of students who go to school develop a strong distaste for literature and art, thinking it boring or unrelated to their own lives and world. And as a passionate literary soul myself, this constitutes quite a problem, but not one that is without remedy. For, maybe if there were someone who could sort of point arrows back to these largely unknown artists, yes, but even more so to these largely unknown writers, then a new era of awareness, on however small a scale, could be ushered in and begin to take shape!
And I feel it is time for me to make my attempt at that. I feel it is time for me to rise to this challenge, and to do what I can do, to introduce you to authors and thinkers whose insight and whose imaginations and stories you might just find to be very much identifiable with those of your life and your view of things. And that is why I stood up to put forth what you now read, this clear and unmistakable statement and rallying-cry.
It is a tough and socially perceptive mind which understands that struggle creates the potential bridge from ignorance to consciousness and self-determination. And it is a tough and socially perceptive mind which understands that where talents and the needs of the world intersect, therein lies one’s vocation—therein lies your vocation. And with the proper ways and means, anything can be accomplished. I heard a point from the mouth of a revolutionary that contains the very creed of every pioneer and revolutionary in any field. That creed is: “Become that change you want to see in the world.” If we see a need that must be met, then we must decide how we, personally, are going to meet it, and in the most effective and efficient way possible. It is the goal of the noble revolutionary, of the lastingly successful bringer of change, to create a bridge from ignorance to understanding, from falsehood to truth, and from laziness to discipline, both within himself and within others. If you wish to lead, says one proverb, be a bridge. The bridge I am building or embodying, as one contributor to a new art-renaissance for those who wish to be part of it, this bridge I am building, is made up, in its physical form, of pieces of literature, art, and fashion, and I have culled and rearranged these pieces—and indeed that is what I visually present. Simple enough. But really what builds each extension of that bridge is a strong and abiding passion, an enthusiasm and a love, and that, I hope, will not only be the cause and the force that has brought it into existence it, but also the effect and the impact that it will have upon those who wish to take their own journey through the bridge, just by taking a look at the images and just by reading these words. By doing that, you make your own contribution to this construction, and it is just as crucial and necessary as my own in putting it together and presenting it. It is a hard truth for many a timid artist to face, but Art is nothing without an audience, and it is only in our effect on others that we exist, and all I have to give...is love, sweet love, sweet sweet sweet love….
As I stated among those quotations at the outset, there is a dual task here: to defend the new against the old, and to link the old with the new. And, with that in mind, I created this website six months ago, and for a time it was like a fashion runway-review, with commentary from an energetic young man with the same rhapsodically longing, overly sentimental, beauty-worshipping spirit of the British Romantics of the early 1800’s, but who actually writes in the raucous computer writing-style and tone of the early-2000's America. But I have since developed that basic concept upward and outward, allowing these fashion models, in their gorgeous sartorial creations, to be enhanced and illuminated by paintings from the great masters, and brief excerpts from the greatest writers. And so, now, on a weekly basis, I design collages of my favorite photographed looks from the catwalks of major cities from various seasons, juxtaposing them throughout with paintings and other relevant pictures, and with captions indeed still-frequently of astonished praise, or of wry irony, which I had done before, but now there is also more of choice poetic verses or quotations from the great prose-writers, whether those of novels or of philosophical works. These more integrated and diversified arrangements bring together fashion with art and literature, to then be brought directly to you, letting you interpret, enjoy, critique, or comment as you please (and it is the response I continue to get on a nonstop basis that has led me to this very update!). For a person who is seeking recognition, if not credit, for the work he has done, any reaction is preferable to indifference, and opposition never embitters an enthusiast, only encourages him, as he sees that he is doing something not everyone will already mindlessly accept, or just plain overlook.
And I have to be thankful for whatever abilities I have, abilities which I feel I can bring to bear on the world’s need for a bridging of this gap. But I also must be thankful to the ways and means that only very recently have been made available to me and to the whole population of so many countries and communities the world over, for such a mission to be actualized with measurable results on not just the basis of every few months, or every few days, but on an hour-to-hour basis! Yes, it is thanks very much to the Internet—to the unbelievable advancements in research capabilities and the global interpersonal communication network of the Internet—that I have been able to do this. And such an endeavor as I am pursuing is possible only by the miracle of the Internet, this multi-bazillion-page, split-secondly laser-accurately cross-referenced, worldwide and almost absolutely democratized encyclopedia of everything imaginable, which is not only that, but also—also!—a level-playing-field of a forum, an international, inter-cultural, inter-lingual forum, that is, for the exchange or distribution of all manner of pictures, information, ideas and yes, inspiration—and that includes literature of every genre and for every purpose (though what a bizarre exception it would be to prefer reading one’s favorite book off a screen rather than printed in page form, though I have seen the efforts that are being in terms of that), and the Internet is a place to find any type of written communication or pathway of dissemination ever so sought or desired. And...it is thanks to that, all of that, that a person is allowed to easily pole-vault, like some superpowered Olympic athlete, around the world, any which way, and throughout the centuries just as well, many times over, in but minutes at a time.
But before a technological windfall of this order and magnitude can be individually leveraged with optimal power, that is, before the digital artist, digital researcher, or digital scholar sits down before his computer and gets to work, he must, I believe, be imbued with a human and a humane, hardly computerizable cultural and artistic awareness. He or she must have and feel that sense of what progress means in the larger context of society, and within the context of the art-form itself, and how it is needed in both, and that there is absolutely a case to be made for the correlation and concurrence of the two, and I will address that...
...and as I turn my focus more deeply to art, I must immediately clarify that when I say “Art,” I do not just mean a bunch of books on bookshelves, and a few hundred museums full of paintings, or any of those handful of works you were assigned to study in school—and the narrowness of that selection is really an injustice, though it doesn't mean to be and perhaps could not help but be. But another type of educator must emerge to supplement that formal education with a freer and infinitely expanded one that provides flashes and gleams from countless more artists and writers and paintings and books, ultimately deepening and complexifying our own perception of beauty, and of life—that is, the very magnitude of our own enjoyment, appreciation, pleasure, and happiness as individuals. Now that is an education...! I quote the author from earlier who rightly said “The key to education is the experience of beauty.” I don't think it's any mystery that I agree with that statement. So, getting back to art, when I talk about art, I am referring to far more vast world of beauty and genius that is out there to be enjoyed. Most of us shrug and dismiss art and literature because we never knew anything of the unbelievable variety and diversity that exists in these forms. People assume that stories and essays and paintings from all different eras are boring and unexciting, or no longer have any bearing on life today or on our current understanding of human nature, but these people, not to be blamed or shrugged away themselves, just haven’t seen that art has always, always, depicted thoughts and actions and stories and things that are crazy, shocking, outrageous, hilarious, ridiculous, terrifying, heart-wrenching, and uplifting—that is, that it has depicted that which we can identify with, no matter who we are, and that it is there for us find, and to see, leaving us ultimately, astonishingly, unforgettably amazed or inspired or both. The works that are out there, from so many different unique creative minds, are not timeless and universal by themselves, unseen and unknown; they still need an audience, and all they need is a bit more exposure, and there is not a doubt that they will easily reach out to and move some of those who are shown the way.
When I say “Art,” I am referring to the creative spirit that is behind these works and that still lives within them, and is released immediately with contact. It is a spirit that has existed for as far back as we can trace, and that has continued to be emitted like light from those earlier works of art, and continues to be given off by so many other works that have been brought into the world since. The spirit of art is the spirit of open questioning, of experimentation, of untrammeled, boundless creativity, and just as importantly, of a solitary unwavering discipline, the disciplined craft of a particular material and shareable form, and—as equally vital as all of that—it is the freedom to share the end-result of all that spirit-driven activity. It has to remain relevant, it has to remain up-to-date, and really, it has to remain controversial: one writer said: “That which is not disputed, is not interesting, either.” And so, to tie all this together, art can only progress—really, art only exists—with viewers. Again, I say that art is for nothing but to inspire, and that it is nothing without an audience.
And with this Internet at all of our fingertips, the centerpiece and sun of our modern lives, an artist, an art historian, and the scholar of literature, or any of the creative humanities, now is obligated—and I am humbly doing my part—to take his love of the arts and, more importantly, to take the artistic tradition and the awareness of that tradition, and finally, more fully, bring it up to speed with the million-times-over exponential progress—which includes expansion as well—that the Internet has accelerated, once totally unimaginably, but now invaluably and indispensably, in the realms of business, and technology, and science, and day-to-day news, and even just social communication, as it has rocketed forward through its first ten or fifteen years of widespread use and ever increasing access. Now don't get me wrong: there has been progress and expansion, integration and interaction, of course, among artists and in the arts by way of the Web, and with the transcription and scanning of literary works of course, too, but it is in no way comparable to the advancements in these other realms, and the art and literature of bygone eras has just been too marginalized, too scorned, and too neglected in favor of other work and activity, and not just in favor of other artwork or for current literary productions, nearly as much as for the blaring fanfare of entertainment, whether in the form of pictures, gossip, interviews, or information, or news, whether in the form of both news-outlet stories or the editorial free-for-all of blogs and message boards.
And, again, I could not leave out how music is the exception to this rule about forms of art, as its relation to the Internet is practically a foregone conclusion to anyone even hearing a description what the Internet is for the first time. The songs, albums, and videos both of established bands and singers, as well as of brand-new ones, have become so quickly, easily, and universally accessed, popularized, and shared online, while other forms of art require a more actively, shall I say, instrumental person, who loves the artworks of beauty enough to “become that change he wants to see in the world,” and begin his struggle to bridge the gap, to close the divide, and, hopefully, to build upon that fresh surface and landscape a thriving city of artists and art-lovers who weave their own paths and labyrinths back through the worlds of art and thought in their won unique individual ways. I want to see that change, and I want to be that change, or part of that change, and this is my bid. This is about the development of the human imagination, and in saying that, I am saying that there a “collective unconscious” that is specific to art, and as fashion is a form of art—in my opinion—it has a collective unconscious of its own as well. And then, of course, there is a collective unconscious that can be discerned in literature, among all those who write and tell stories and experiment with language, and that was indeed where the concept itself initially took shape in a mind of one thinker in the early 20th century, who first discovered the thread himself, running throughout mythology and ancient literature, and his work then elaborated on that premise, which I continue in my own synthesized way, by transferring it to these other realms of creative expression, only to blend it back to the form that interested him the most.
And from my point of view, the time is right. There has been a disconnect, a missing link, this "bridgelessness,” between art and fashion and literature, and it is time for the architect to draw the blueprints and then be the structural engineer of it all as well. Fashion has always drawn from art. Art has always drawn from literature. But what of the relationship between literature and fashion? That is where I step in. There is less of a bridgelessness, indeed, between the world of fashion and the world of art, and far more of one between the world of fashion and the world of literature, the realm of authors, which is, really, mostly made up of men who exult over female beauty, extol it, and exalt it with the most beautiful, timely and, they hope, timeless displays of sustained praise. So many of them have made these immortalizing monuments that both immortalize themselves and the women who inspired their creation (the creation of the poetry and the creation of the poet) and to whom the works are solely addressed, though we, too, may partake thereof. (And whew, that was a lot! But that is what they do.)
So, there is, right there, a connection that goes from classical art and literature, back to the work of modern fashion designers, design-work which is so well-known and continuously publicized from season to season (thanks even more so to the Internet!), and that connection is obvious to me, but what matters is that I find it riveting, captivating, and certainly deserving of far more attention than is commonly given. It is nature which has been kind enough to make clothing models as beautiful as they are, and their beauty is not a talent as much as it is genius (as I have said before), but nature has blessed great artistic and literary minds with no less genius—it is just in a different form and manifests itself differently! What I am saying is that culture contributes to nature, and makes it even more beautiful; as one man said, “Art is nature concentrated.” And fashion, to me, is most certainly an art!
This is a big multi-dimensional mission I describe, and the type of person most well-equipped to take it on could not be some a stubbornly outdated malcontent or a miserably snooty, walking anachronism. How self-defeating that would be! The goal, after all, is to turn people on to these enticing works of the past, and such a type would never be able to turn people on to past artworks, artists, books, and authors; he or she, with that bookish, pedantic, ridiculous demeanor, would, if anything, keep people turned off by all of it. And so this mission requires a hardier embodiment of the tradition-loving spirit. It has to be someone with plenty of time, energy, and passion, who loves this most beautiful and imaginative work that is currently being done—which, again, I personally believe is in the work of designer fashion—but who has also discovered that there is artistic work that was done beforehand this stuff, in this art-form, that is just as captivating! And still! Such an individual who has seen this, who has had this revelation time and again, would inevitably conclude that juxtaposing the works of the distant past (spanning the most ancient all the way to those of the last century) and works of the “present” (meaning those of simply the very recent past) can show each off to an even better mutual advantage! And that such a juxtaposition is liable to give the viewer, the thinker, the person seeing it, a deeper and more intricate understanding of human aesthetic sensibilities. Pictures are worth a thousand words—so the saying goes—and it is thousands of great lines of language that can, in glimmers here and there, make some images of beauty shine that much brighter, if not burn that much hotter!
But, alas! For whatever reasons and due to whatever factors, this connection of which I speak with such self-assurance, is incidentally (but I would say very mistakenly) neglected, if not flat-out (and once again mistakenly) disregarded, by those who are attuned to aesthetics and who are sympathetic to creative expression in general, but who may not, alas, know where to find more of it—or the best of it! Or, really, they may not even know that so much more of is out there! That is, that such an extensive and unbelievably diverse history of work, a canon as it is called, has been made by so many preceding artists, affirmed by the assent of the ages, and is, I feel and confirm very strongly, just as viable as a source of enjoyment, inspiration, and pleasure today, as when it was first introduced to the world, back when just a relatively small regional audience knew of it and had access to it, both physical access to it, and mental “access” to it content and meaning. And perhaps, I would say, more likely than not, that these works are now even more enjoyable, inspiring, and pleasing, as now we are able to compare and recognize and see their impact upon what the human imagination, in its many unique embodiments, has been produced since then! I am namely talking about the continuous development, complexification, and ramification that we call art history and literary history.
And the best aphorisms on art and culture can be linked with hard-hitting pithiness:
I feel I have an obligation to try to save, if not simply just preserve, the very definition of Culture from the meanings of the word that have become so much more prevalent in recent times, whether from the word’s use by those in the political arena, or those in the business world, or those in the entertainment industry.
But what definition am I talking about? There are six definitions for the word in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, and while the fifth one covers those in the other contexts I will mention in a moment, it is no fewer than three other definitions that apply to what I’m talking about, and this is what it says:
culture : the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education
And I will take a moment to say, in basic terms, the other common definitions that exist: Businesspeople use the word “culture” when referring to the interpersonal atmosphere and the overall communication style of a company or its workplace. The entertainment industry uses the word in reference to pop culture, and popular culture is a wonderful thing…Unfortunately, there is very little popular culture in present-day media, unless you purposely use the phrase as a deliberate oxymoron, in which case culture means not culture, or popular means not popular. Art can be entertaining, but what is commonly understood as “entertainment” is not art. As I said, the bridge I am seeking to construct will show just what I am talking about—this is not a commercial effort, it is an expression of admiration for beauty, with the beautiful work itself necessarily included with those expressions.
But to return to these other definitions of “culture,” it is, lastly, in politics that the word takes on quite a different significance altogether, as politicians use it almost exclusively in reference to one supposed group of people delineated so that they may be pitted against another group, and this is usually done by the clever politician himself speaking at that very moment. And this goes for whether the artificial distinction is made between people in two different countries, or two supposedly opposing groups in the same country. The very concept of a so-called “culture war,” or an “us versus them” scenario or supposed crisis, exemplifies the mean-spirited and outwardly malicious politics of division, and is purposely fabricated by seekers of power, to bring two groups—not together—but to bring them against one another. A truly effective leader, however, is someone one who genuinely promotes the politics of unity, that is, a leader who can unite a group in support of values that recognize and respect individuality, understanding, and acceptance, which are the only values with any value. This not someone who uses cheap and immature prejudice to get one side to support him while the other will only increasingly oppose him, leaving him only to do his best to ignore their opposition, while the they have no choice but to cultivate their own leadership, which will undoubtedly be based on a more fair-minded and considerate approach.
I say this because, in actuality, people are all individuals, and it only brings out the worst in someone when they are appealed to by someone who deliberately provokes and aggravates their fears and frustrations. After all, it always as easy to accuse one as it is to excuse another. But to vaunt up one group, whether the person vaunting is member or an outsider—yes, to vaunt up one group over another is just willful ignorance, as it is a case of people defining themselves only by the wish to eradicate and replace others, rather than the sensible mentality of allowing for room where anyone can express themselves and be heard. This is why art is the foundation of culture. It allows for room where one can express his or her creativity and hone it, and, if they so choose, to see how it fares with others. Again, the Internet has been quite a boon for those who seek an audience, and I applaud all those with the courage to blaze their own entrepreneurial trail in any field.
And so, with due respect to all those other meanings of the word “culture,” I myself look to restore its meaning and its valuable standing as it once mainly existed—that is, as Culture in realm of the Arts.
This is the purpose of my life and what I most enjoy helping others to actualize as well. This is not about me over someone else; this not about active destruction, but active creation! After all, the highest state of being, I believe, is being actively creative. And that is what all existing art exists to create: more artists who will create more art and keep that spirit alive! And then the culture of a people may proceed and may flourish… You know, it can really be summed up thusly: Science, Technology, and Medicine—those are things that keep us alive. But Art, Music, and Beauty—these are the things we live for! And those are the source of culture, and its result, showing culture to be a cycle of the best kind.
One writer gave a very good definition of his own: that “culture is above all the unity of the artistic style in all the expressions of a life of a people.” Notice that it is “the artistic style,” not “an artistic style.” What he refers to as the style of art, I refer to as the spirit of art. And this same writer posed a good question, when he asked, “What good at all is science if it has no time for culture?” And even along with that two points, he also pointed out, like so many before him, that culture and politics are indeed often at odds with each other, a disrelationship that goes at least as far back as recorded antiquity.
Contrary to all these media distractions and the ignorance that is not hopeless stupidity, but more just an incidental ignoring—contrary to all of that, what I support and promote is the opportunity for anyone to create an identity for himself or herself, a creative identity, in anyway they please, and any way they choose. And if I'm just an idealistic hold-out, at least I am not just nothing more than a dreamer, but a worker who is working toward making his dream a reality. And if that is absurd, then that's what I am, and maybe I'm not a strong and sturdy bridge, and will never be, but "Where a bridge doesn't exist, a plank will have to suffice." Someone else can extend this plank or broaden it, but that's up to someone else, and I make this wager of faith, because it’s all I know how to do, just like the art-lovers who preceded me did in their own time and in their own ways, with their own means. All I can do is all I can do, in the time and the space that has been allotted to me...
So, in keeping with this attitude through-and-through, I have to amplify that, as much as I love culture in the great and time-honored, humane, artistic sense of the word, it would be ridiculous for me to say I want to “fight ignorance.” To try fighting ignorance, that is, to wage my own blustering little “war” against it, would be ignorant in itself, and as foolish as it is self-defeating. It is always a pathetic shame when a person who knows better purposely acts like he doesn’t, and that, to me, is absurd. My interest is not in dividing people into clear-cut opposing groups, and I know that real people are not so easily simplifiable. In fact, everyone, I believe, is cultured in some unique way, and I respect every individual in his or her natural and preferred place, whether in life, or in the world. To say anything otherwise is just snobbery, or anti-snobbery, which are both boring, but, more dangerously, are inaccurate and, again, only cause baseless, needless, mindless, heartless, senseless conflict.
A wise poet gave a good list in making a brilliant point; he said: “The sailor and traveler, the anatomist, chemist, astronomer, geologist, spiritualist, mathematician, historian, and lexicographer, are not poets, but they are the lawgivers of the poet, and their construction underlies the structure of all great poetry. No matter what rises or is uttered,” he said, “they sent the seed of the conception of it; of them and by them stand the visible proofs of souls…” The poet I quote here said in an earlier version of that same point that, “the architect, the scientist, and sailor and traveler underlie the very maker of poems himself,” whom he named, in that earlier version, “the Answerer.” And today there is a need, and there needs to be an answerer for that need, who wisely regards other fields of knowledge, and is neither intimidated nor bored by them, and who neither disdains nor belittles any other realms of activity, livelihood, and achievement, but rather is interested in all of it, and use it as alternate perspectives and vocabularies for him to dip into and see the world through, as he seeks to verbally illustrate his feeling and experience of beauty and of love. And of course, in doing this, in using these other vocabularies and stores of knowledge, he is, whether he intends it or not, more likely to catch and hold the attention of an individual in one of these lines of work, who may then see a new dimension or even a deeper artistic quality to what they do.
Now, I will admit, the word “poet” reeks of weakness and complete social irrelevance in 2007 America. But in preceding centuries, including early in this past one, a poet was a much more dynamic and socially relevant figure than we could possibly comprehend at the present moment. But now, poets, by which I do not include musically accompanied singers of any sort, but only writers of books of poetry, have lost the sense of “humanness,” the sense of irony, wisdom, pathos, humor, and insight, that has been picked up and taken up by TV screenwriters, movie script-writers, and comedians, who have very much become the visible and representative thinkers of current times. But the experience of watching a movie or TV show is absolutely different from that of reading a book, and it is incumbent upon a new writer, or a whole interrelationship of new writers and artists, who can emerge into view and who can bring literature back into the minds of the general public. He or she or they who can do this must see and study how the great writers and artists of past did it, and it is crucial for newcomers to understand that it is only by studying those past figures and continuing the immortality of those past figures, that one today may become a figure who influences those of the future. That is how it always is with leaders; they build from their predecessors to themselves, and then beyond, or should I say they build from their predecessors to themselves, and therefore beyond, as there is no other way for them to do it.
Humbly, as a fervent worshipper and enthusiast of beauty in the arts, I will do what I can in the way of this, and will continue making my play, or plea, or ploy, in the various above-mentioned forms as time goes on. I said at the beginning that one should actively sacrifice oneself “to the culture which is developing!” and it is the literary tradition that needs its defenders and caretakers the most. A bridge is more necessary now than ever before.
So, to this need I see for re-defining culture, for re-endowing culture with its artistic and literary strength and understanding, and for that need for a new type of education, my attitude is not aggressive, nor is it presumptive of any authority on my part; it is one of sheer, unvarnished enthusiasm, and is motivated only by my desire to share, in the best way I know how, the inspiration that beholding beauty has given me... So aside from this more zoomed-out perspective I have been describing, I am also doing this just to write and to share my favorite pictures! So, as you can tell, I am not interested in confrontation, or in any sort of haughty-taughty condescension; there have already been enough ridiculous instigators, and enough lamenters, and enough complainers, when it comes to the creative state and fate of the modern world’s artistic representatives and spokespeople, but it is really the responsibility of those who see that need, to go ahead and meet that need, and in some way other than just by pointing and shouting, or languishing in despair, or giving in to passive time-wasting forms of spending their energy. I, for one, am too full of love to choose the rude first option, and too full of love to choose the self-defeating second option, and I am too continuously overflowing with ideas and feelings to even consider choosing the third.
Yet, as far as taking the opposite but just as ineffective approach—that of giving flattery, I am not interested in that, either. Empty flattery is a worthless end in itself, and not a bridge to these artists and this art which is so much greater than the artists who made it. I would rather show you these works than try to convince you first (which I have been doing from week to week for over six months, before producing the statement you have here). This universe of works, which I keep praising, do have the power to make your individual life, like mine, just a little more interesting, if not happier, more dynamic, and more full of meaning and more full of understanding. I am here to build this bridge from ignorance to knowledge, and from there to culture, and there to and creativity…and ultimately, at last, a bridge to a deeper enjoyment of life and a more interesting way of seeing the world itself!
I cannot emphasize it enough: By building a bridge from our own way of thinking and seeing to someone’s else way of thinking and seeing, whether it is in work that someone did in our own language, or in another language—and I think a woman’s beauty is translatable into almost every language—or from another form of creative expression altogether, we can discover new things, and have more ideas, and pictures, and thoughts in our heads, to occupy ourselves with, and which we can even have “at the ready,” in order to save ourselves when we might be on the verge of boredom, or frustration, or anger, or despair. Because that is what Art was made for!—to enhance our already-happy moments and to mitigate, if not prevent, our less happy ones. And that is precisely what the great artists have always understood, and it is that instinct, that sympathy with humankind and all the travails of life, that drove them to materialize their unique internal vision and share it with the world—and it is to the world that their work belongs, and that means it belongs to YOU—yes, YOU. And you are the only one who knows an artwork and sees it and understands in that unique way that you do.
That is what an artist becomes an artist for, whether they fully comprehend it or not, and that is how and that is why great art is as universal as it is timeless; it is a hallmark of humanity and of life itself, and therefore the essential well-spring of culture. Now, I will say again, it may be easier to understand what I’m talking about if I were to say that this about music, because music is so much more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, but I assure you that these writers who wrote books, and these artists who painted pictures, and these designers who are making dresses, are all providing us and continuing to provide us with such an amazing and utterly invaluable service. That is, they contribute to our sense of ourselves, and to our awareness not only of what beauty, and goodness, and greatness are, but of what beauty and goodness and greatness exist in this world of ours!
So, in getting people whom I have not even met, to join me in at least perceiving this connection between Art and Fashion and Literature—if not also appreciating it—and to compel them to experience the awesomeness of the works of other artists and creators, and to increase their understanding the meaning of Culture—or at least one artistic interpretation of the word—for me to get people to do this, is not achieved by me waging a war, but rather an instance of me, once again, building a bridge! And thus it is a rejection of the usual violent and destructive metaphor, in favor of one of pursuing diplomacy, which, in my opinion, is both far more interesting and, actually, more effective!
This is what I am. What you have heard is my credo as a lover of art, a lover of life, and a lover of people and their beauty, their genius, and their creativity. And I hope you feel some of the joy and appreciation that I feel and have expressed. Acting on all the realizations I have made about art and culture, and acting on the understanding that I have arrived at in my own thoughts and experiences, I pledge my devotion and dedication to this corner of the digital universe and the world at large, where I will seek to start to inspire others to similar realizations and a similar understanding—or, if for nothing else, I am just offering up something for consideration—and maybe they too, meaning you, will then be more inspired to work toward a change that you want to see, and contributing to it with your own self-expression and time and energy and work, and your own ways and means.
To that end, in this area I have cleared for myself, I knowingly take on a sort of “Atlas-like” role (referring to the Greek god who held the world over his head), and make myself, however convincingly or at least, I hope, amusingly, a simultaneous Fashion Editor / Art Curator / Literary Scholar, the ultimate self-made Humanities Librarian, a new kind of interdisciplinary maven, a tireless dynamo who act as a multi-form firebrand of every accessible culture and every accessible era, endowing fashion with the weight and power not only of some 3,000 years of painted art, but also with some 3,000 years of written art! A self-certified professor of aesthetics, affiliated with no school but that of the world, and expounding with as much gusto as I please, on the value of beauty, the desire for beauty, and the need for beauty….
After all, we learn not for school, but for life. And that is why, from the start, I reject a “dreamy idealism,” and also why I decline to make malicious instigations, or be just another sidelines-standing, arms-folded malcontent, or carping, caviling critic… I have got too much love to waste my time, to deplete the energy I have, on anything like that, though I understand that those ways of being may be, I would have to suppose, a source of happiness for others.
But my source of happiness? My main, ongoing source of inspiration?—is always beauty, a beautiful woman unbelievably dressed. Maybe it is even many women; there are, after all, several hundreds I’ve presented over the past months—and it was one of the greatest poets of the antiquity who said: “In a word, of all the beauties they rave about in Rome, there's none whose lover I am not fain to be,” a line that has been perhaps more bluntly translated into English as: “In short, there’s a vast cross-section of desirable beauties in this city—and I want ’em all!” But yes, all these runway selections accompanied by strong opinions—and invariably ones of praise—might very well make me a “male fashionista” of sorts. But I definitely don’t expect to be seen as a contributor to the state or fate of culture just because I express approval of a well-dressed model, for goodness’ sake, no.... But rather, as I have explained fully and thoroughly above (and will fulfill in the coming weeks and months), my attempted contribution to culture, the arts-appreciating culture of the world, thanks to the “global village” of the Internet, will be made by expressing my admiration and appreciation for contemporary beauty in what I believe is a higher, deeper, and more meaningful way, and one that I will, of course, share with others, to maybe spark the fire of their own inspiration and creativity—and that’s what this is for!
The highest praise of genius is original invention. The work I do on this website to make it part of the world of your mind, and not just mine, and the work I do with it to raise your own sense of beauty—encompassing sensitivity, and sensations, and sensibility—all of this, all of it, is my tribute to the genius of beauty, and the highest tribute I know how to create.
And so, it is not because I admire and exalt the power of fashion, that I’d give myself any sort of presumptuous, preposterous, pretentious title; it is because I seek to build a bridge between art and fashion and literature, and from the past to the present, and from these works to you, it is all that fashioning, that compels me give myself a title, and that title is—The Fashioniste!