My latest musings, theories and generalizations about society, contemporary culture, and the art world, in an attempt to develop some understanding of the endless stream of information and opinions I'm continually consuming.
A theory on the growth of art inspired by naive art, cartoons, outsider/folk art, children book illustration, and "world through the eyes of a child" art.
Many young artists of my generation seem to seek a simplified, childlike view through art, because we hate/can't understand this complex, contradictory and cynical adult world. In the past few decades, "issues" (economic divides, racism, cultural intolerance, religious intolerance, corporations/consumerism/worker exploitation, [insert society's other ails]) were thought possible to combat and cure, through education, research, political correctness, therapy, government programs, etc. But in this new century, we've had brutal reminders (terrorism/war, corruption scandals, intense liberal/conservative divides) that we're not as progressive as we thought we were. Hatred, intolerance, corruption, prejudices... they run deep through the foundations. Maybe mankind's problems can't just be 'goodwilled' and 'reasoned' away.
Oh, and all that expensive education suddenly isn't a sure ticket to a job. There's no social security anymore. You're probably gonna have to work for 'the man' whether you like it or not. And, you are probably a racist. Just like everyone else.
"Solutions' feel inadequate, "one-person-can-make-a-difference" now feels silly. So by retreating into a child's world, we (and by we, I refer to many of the 20- and 30-somethings of today) find our best way to survive through this. By reviving that aura of magic, make-believe, and anything-is-possible-in-our-minds, we can get away from the big, crazy, complex adult world with all its problems. We can't fix anything. So instead, we'll daydream, watch cartoons, smoke some pot, take our pills, eat sugary nostalgia childhood cereal for breakfast, follow a guilty pleasure like the OC, collect toys, and tuck ourselves in at night. Go back to a time when a sugary novelty fixes everything. Safe and secure.
Ok, that dealt with mostly with why a childlike lifestyle is popular. But I think it's pretty easy to connect that to the appeal of such a style in art, and the draw of naive and folk art as well. The current strength of surrealism makes sense, too: this world doesn't make sense, it's irrational, it's surreal.
All this thinking is a lot of work. I'm not sure if I explained that all well enough, but I sure am tired. I guess I'll reward myself with some candy, and go take my nap.