I think we can all agree that it’s been hard to connect with other humans over the past few years. Working from home and complying with COVID restrictions limited our physical interactions with coworkers and friends. And now, if you believe what you read in the news, ChatGPT is about to eliminate the need for humans entirely. Spoiler Alert: One thing that neither a pandemic nor artificial intelligence can take away from us is our desire to create something unique － and to share that experience with others.
“Engaging with art is not simply a solitary event. The arts and culture represent one of the few areas in our society where people can come together to share an experience even if they see the world in radically different ways. The important thing is not that we agree about the experience that we share, but that we consider it worthwhile sharing an experience at all. In art and other forms of cultural expression, disagreement is accepted and embraced as an essential ingredient.” － Why Art Has the Power to Change the World, Olafur Eliasson, The Huffington Post
Finding Art in Unexpected Places
A few years ago, my fiance’ and I visited the Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 near Amarillo, Texas. It’s a unique art installation consisting of ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs buried nose-down in the dirt with their tail fins sticking up in the air. Fun fact: Bruce Springsteen memorialized the Cadillac Ranch in song on his 1980 album, The River.
Visitors come to the Cadillac Ranch from all over the world to not only view the spectacle, but also to grab a can of spray paint and leave their mark for the sake of posterity. We happened to visit during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, so BLM was a recurring theme in the freshest paint, but if you look closely, you can see references to a wide variety of historical topics and events in the thick layers of graffiti that date back to the mid-1970’s. It’s a fun and liberating form of expression that transcends the boundaries of more conventional art.
Bringing Out the Artist in All of Us
If socially acceptable graffiti is not your thing, you still have plenty of options. You might be thinking, “I’m not an artist. I tried to paint my dog once at a Girl’s Night Out, and my picture ended up looking more like roadkill than Rottweiler.” I’m here to tell you that you are, in fact, an artist. You just need to find the right medium. And, fluid art might just what you need. This form of abstract art uses acrylic paints that have a runny (fluid) consistency. When you combine the acrylic paints, they react with each other to create dynamic patterns and color combinations. Best of all, fluid art is fun for all ages. Even a two year old can create a masterpiece!
Hawaii Fluid Art founder Maya Ratcliff began her art career helping people with brain injuries leverage their artistic talents as therapy. Working from her home and area resorts in Hawaii, she went on to develop her own proprietary fluid art techniques using acrylic paints and a special pouring medium. The demand for her classes grew as her students spread the word about the thrill of creating fluid artwork, and her reach rapidly spread from her first studio in Waikoloa, Hawaii to locations across America. Ratcliff’s philosophy is that everyone can be an artist, and she loves inspiring people and bringing them joy through art. She explains,
”Fluid art is a fun way to bring people together for a unique experience focused on self-expression. Together, we make feel-good art.”
So Many Connections, So Little Time
We all juggle a lot of different priorities on a daily basis, but art can help us connect (or reconnect) to everything that matters to us. In this blog series, I’ll help you discover how you can use art to connect with your own soul, your co-workers, your family, your friends, and your community.
Hawaii Fluid Art’s mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one painting at a time.