I'm excited to invite you to a show that I am co-curating with my talented artist friend Jane Richlovsky of The Good Arts Building in Seattle.
I have been envisioning both the artwork and this show, I'm not kidding, for 10 years. Originally I was going to call it The Good Life Project - but DANG IT if that title wasn't already taken! So Jane and I came up with Our-topia.
In response to all the horrible dystopian images that fill our airwaves (and consequently our mind-waves) I wanted to create an illustrated vision of the future that I wanted to see.... one that inspires hope and gives a blueprint that the viewers could move towards.
I've been thinking a lot about what kind of energy it requires to foster positive change. The energy I'm filled with in response to the constant barrage of bad news tends towards outrage and despair. Though anger can spark action, it can't sustain it. What sustains long term change is excitement, enthusiasm, and hope. And what inspires excitement, enthusiasm and hope? Something to look FORWARD to, not just things to fight against or run away from.
It's kinda like riding a bike. When you are on a trail, and there are all kinds of sticks or rocks, or other bikers, or dogs running around, if you focus on those things you tend to accidentally steer TOWARDS them. You have to look for the clear trail you want to ride on and then it's easy breezy.
I know that sounds *suspiciously* like manifest-y positive thinking woo woo speak. However, I don't believe you should just focus on the good stuff without understanding the bad stuff. There has to be a balance.
The words "balance" and "sustainable" just keep popping up in both what I want within my life now and what future I want to see. The "Good Life" for me is a home and lifestyle that is environmentally sustainable, and fossil-fuel free. It means community designed living and gathering spaces. It means education that is service oriented and designed to match the growing patterns of a child's mind and body. It means freedom from fear - of un-regulated guns or a fascist un-humanitarian government.
So now I've been trying to illustrate those lofty goals! I've completed two and hope to have 3 in time for the show on September 5th, but I will be making more for sure. I plan on moving this show to an online format, where I can invite artists of all stripes to contribute with their visions.
The image on the left is inspired by the work of Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement, as well as New Urbanism, which are both methods of urban planning that focuses on community, walkability, and environmentalism (the "map" in the background shows a bit of the Garden City). The houses are powered by solar tiles and "wind trees" (wind turbines designed to look like trees). The land surrounding homes is designed and cultivated with the principles of permaculture.
The illustration on the right (work in progress) goes into one of my future homes, specifically into the bathroom. An intrinsic part of my dream world health care will be preventative: part of that system will include data gathering by our very own powder room! The floors will automatically weigh us as we enter, as well as calculate body fat, water percentage, bone density, and your resting heart rate. Information will be gathered from samples of our waste, saliva and blood to alert us to any illnesses. All of this info will be reflected in our "Med Mirrors"... which will also provide tips for food, vitamins, and exercise customized to us based on the data collected. This information will then shared privately with our family doctor if we need more specialized care. All of this isn't actually all that futuristic: smart scales and smart mirrors have already been invented. I imagine them incorporated into the structure of our homes. But with extremely strong fire walls!
Both illustrations are 8" X 10" egg tempera paintings on claybord, which I've also scratched into to create very textured images.
Official Like Description of the Show:
Our-Topia: Artists Create the Future
What does the “good life” mean to you?
Face it, things are bleak. Climate change, police brutality, gun violence, inequality, blatant racism, authoritarian populism threatening our democracy…the list just seems to go on and on. It’s difficult not to feel discouraged and fearful. Outrage and fear are courted by the media and amplified in the echo chambers of social media.
Humanity badly needs a path forward at this juncture. Artists have the creative chops, and with it a sacred responsibility to envision a different future. Just imagine if our media, film, literature and art offered blueprints for hopeful and bright futures. Instead of reinforcing immobilizing fear, they could inspire positive action.
That is the theme of this show, OUR-TOPIA, ARTISTS CREATE THE FUTURE. 10 artists share their visions of the world they would like to see.
Come and be inspired... and perhaps you too can start envisioning a brighter tomorrow.
Opening night is during the Seattle Pioneer Square Art Walk, Thursday September 5th, 5:30-7:30.
Cherry Street Coffee House
700 1st Ave, Seattle WA
The show runs September 5-December 31.
Lin Lin Mao