the plight and duties of man, specifically that of the artist, to spread love and nonsense


by elena fortune







the thesis of my manifesto is nonsense.

the absolute truth of the universe is that there is no truth, no meaning.

if you break down human motivation for any action, it’s to feel good.

to eat, survive, be kind, create, it’s in pursuit of feeling good.

can you explain the feeling of good?

can you explain human emotion?

there is no explanation, no reason, no reality.

we must disconnect from the real and embrace the surreal, the unreal,

the nonsense, to fully connect with the nontruth.

we fully embrace love when we eclipse reality.




this manifesto has been written with little editing and with a train of thought.

please read with kindness and consideration

peace and love and excellence,

elena




“the artist lives very little, if at all, in the world of mortals and politics.’- charles baudelaire, the painter of modern life and other essays




 

kindness to all unless provoked to a reasonable extent



    each person deserves peace of mind and mental content. not only should we strive to create positive interactions with everyone we meet to help ensure a portfolio of positive memories, but we should treat those with depression and other mental illnesses with kindness and tenderness in order to help them achieve the mental clarity and happiness that we all deserve.

    that being said— not all people deserve kindness at all times. while we should always approach situations with understanding and compassion, sometimes others will respond with biterness and ignorance. in the face of racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, ablism, and any other type of disgusting discrimination of others, the first step should always be assessment of their understanding of the issue and how we can educate them better to change their thoughts and actions. teach them how to understand the struggles of the oppressed. try to work through the misconceptions and lies they have been taught.

    of course, there is a line between misunderstanding and blatant attempts to hurt others because of their beliefs. this is in accordance with the 4th staple, that the pursuit of harming others intentionally is the highest form of evil. this is the point where some do not deserve kindness, as serving them compassion would be a disservice to you. kindness is something that can easily be taken away in order to defend yourself from evil. while the mental health of others is always something to keep in mind, there is no one more important to protect than yourself. fight back in the face of oppression and cruelty. you are worth defending and you deserve to be treated with respect. your friends and family and those you love deserve to be treated with respect.

    this same line of thinking applies to violence as well… do not ever engage in violence first. however, if you are attacked, fight back. protect yourself and those you care about from physical and mental harm always— this means not attacking first, as that could create harm against you in reaction. words can cause as much harm as a punch— if someone is provoking you to that level, use your thoughts to retaliate or exit the situation before entertaining the possibility of getting hurt. leaving a scar on another leaves a lasting reminder of the negativity you impacted on someone. it allows the unpleasant experience to fester and sear itself into someones memory, into their actions, into their words. it breeds the hatred we seek to combat with the kindness in each interaction we have. and while scars and wounds eventually heal and fade, the scars left as memories never do. you can never erase an experience. and for that reason, we seek to create as few negative experiences as possible within others. we want to impart as many positive moments onto others to build a strong foundation for a happy mind. we want to help others heal, and while healing may take a long time, kindness may help speed it up ever so slightly.



    my parents are all members of the lgbt community (i think they all identify as lesbians but im not fully sure…? never asked…) my birth mother and adoptive mother (mom 1 and mom 2) were together when me and my brother were born. they were never married, but they were in a committed relationship. eventually they broke up, and while we kept in frequent touch with mom 2, she met another woman who she eventually married (mom 3). mom 2 and 3 have been constant and large presences in my life, and despite living in another house in another town 30 minutes away they always made such an effort to be present and available in my and my brothers life, and i love them so much.

    my birth mother, mom 1, who me and my younger brother live with, is an extremely anxious person who is always thinking in the worst case scenarios. i realized tonight while discussing my move out of the house that she has never, not once, told me that i deserve better than the hand that has been dealt to me. i grew up attending school in a town full of people richer than me, and from such an early age i felt like i was below all of my peers in terms of status. they knew better than me and they felt like they were better than me. i felt like i didnt deserve to know, or that i didnt deserve the same stable social or home life they all had. i grew up in a fractured but happy home, complicated and with less money than anyone else. and not once did my mom tell me, you are worth the same as any of those other kids. i dont think she did this intentionally, and i dont think she thought i was worth less consciously. i think if someone had told her to her face that i wasnt the same as my classmates she would have put up a fight. but i think, subconsciously, she thought she wasnt worth better. i dont know why.

    why doesnt she think she deserves better? she has always accepted the hand dealt to her. she has never asked for more. i think she thinks its easier to accept and adapt rather than deny and fight. which, i suppose it is, but is it not harder to suffer when you know you could do better for yourself? i grew up around a woman who always taught me that you should always lay down your arms first. you should never put up a fight. other people are always right, and you have no place to argue with them, especially for your own benefit. she always told me that i just need to accept worse conditions because im not on the same level of other people to ask for equal treatment. its rude and unbecoming. its not humble.

fuck humble.

    by all means de-escalate arguements. avoid violence at all costs. but if someone tells you to your face you dont deserve what you know you do? put up the biggest fight you can. i know you deserve better than how some people treat you. so act like it. tell people that you should be treated better. you deserve equal treatment and NO ONE should walk over your voice. not anyone. not even your parents. you know your limits. you know what you deserve, demand it. never settle.

    i dont know how i learned my worth. i think it was the internet that taught me that i didnt need anyones help to build myself up, and once i learned, i did. i somehow figured out that i should ask for more when i knew i deserved more. through failed relationships and getting fucked one too many times for being too nice, i learned to never settle. because sometimes it is really so much harder to suffer through when you know you could have just tried to ask for better.





 art is without boundaries and judgement


    the amazing thing about art is the complete openness and limitlessness there is to it. there is not a single soul on the earth that cannot create artwork. babies, old people, plants and animals, all living creatures are capable of creating art. there are so many people who believe artistic talent is something one is lucky enough to be born with. this is false. anyone who wishes to can create intentional art— all it takes is some form of material and some thought.

    for the sake of this staple, i’ll focus on the artistic creation of humans— who, majority of the time when creating ‘art’ in the traditional sense, do it consciously. in this manifesto, i will refer to art in this traditional sense as ‘intentional art’— for i believe that everything in the world has artistic value and can be viewed as such under the right lens (see staple 3). intentional art is art that one—usually one who refers to themselves as an artist or creator in terms of their trade/career— creates with the purpose of it being viewed as a piece of artwork by the general public.

    continuing— each person has a process when creating their work of intentional art, a concept and a meaning. sometimes that meaning is that there is no meaning— this is often the case with my own work. but each piece of art has some sort of meaning and purpose to its creator. for this reason, it is our duty to respect each piece of intentional art as it has value to its creator. even if we don’t understand its meaning or the purpose, it has some to someone, which is enough.

    this does not mean all art is immune from criticism. when the artist wants to ‘improve’ their craft, and work on their skills in the traditional sense, criticism can help develop and grow an artist into their best self. however, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in technical art skills. art is 100% subjective, and takes all forms— it is impossible for there to be terms of what makes art good and bad. many people never begin creating out of fear that the first thing they make will be ‘bad’, or that they have no skill. the process of developing an artistic vision is an artform itself. the artistic arch of a developing young artist is beautiful, even if only in the pursuit of creating something and continuing to create things, and the creation of a body of work. all people should attempt to create, as it is the greatest thing man can do, and the beauty is that all can do it.

    art is also subject to criticism when the subject of the work has some form of harm to another. if the work is being used to promote hatred against someone, namely an oppressed group of people, the piece of art falls under the idea of hatred and harm from staple 4, and because of it’s means to harm and cause upset to others intentionally makes it accessory to the lowest form of evil possible, and is deplorable. the real culprit is not the artwork created, but the artist themselves, who put time and effort into creating a piece of work that harms others. they are disgusting in their efforts. they have used the greatest skill and action man can perform to commit evil against others, and that is the highest sin a man can commit.





all things are art and beautiful under the right lens


    this is continuing off of staple 2— the fact that anyone can make art and that it is without boundaries or judgement. staple 3 more refers to the boundaries part of art. everything we see can be considered to be art, in the right mindset. literally everything. part of unlocking infinite happiness is being able to recognize the beauty in everything around you— from the people you spend time with to the folds in your blanket to the dirt you walk on. everything has something to offer in the way of beauty. the shapes, colors, the way things blend, the way things work together… there are so many places to view the artistry. look at any object in your room and observe it for a minute. notice all of the shapes and lines that make up what you’re seeing. the light sources, the shadows, the shapes the textures are making. everything makes up one large picture.

    if you’re having trouble finding the artistry in anything, imagine painting it photo-realisticly. or even drawing it . think about all of the steps an artist would have to take to replica what your’e seeing. even the most boring and basic of objects has such a complexity to it when tasked with making a perfect replica.  that is what makes something art.

    i often think about the future of art and what is considered “fine art”. we look back now onto artists from 40 or 300 years ago and admire the ideas and techniques that went into their works back in their own time. and so often, the ideas the artist presents are not appreciated until well after their death. the amount of success in the moment does not define the impact it has on the future. so i am always wondering, what art historians will look back on as our generations art movement. who of us will be the next picasso, or warhol, or van gogh? who will be a legend past their passing? i think a lot about the future of fine art and its ties to the digital revolution/the internet. i see digital ‘kawaii’ art, cartoonish styles in large scale pieces, the ‘cal arts’ style, and i think, will this be examined as a movement in 60 years? i see pieces on twitter that i admire and wonder who of my friends will be the first to have a physical gallery showing of their digital work. how will the internet have impacted our view of fine art? i would love to show my work as a serious artist in a gallery someday. id like to think that my work is different from what is considered ‘fine art’, so i think having a serious showing would begin chipping away at the idea that that cartoonish or digital work could never reach the caliber that traditional intentional art does, that it could never carry the same weight that traditional fine art does. but i also have faith that our future art historians will have grown up admiring the works of digital artists online, and respect them for their artistic experimentation and innovation in an emerging age of new technology. they will revere our drive to take this new technology and immediately find a way to make art. thus is the human nature, the highest of our abilities, the skill to create.

    also, who licenses famous works of art to be printed on things like socks and notebooks to be sold in the moma gift shop? the estate? do we know whos in charge of the estate for vincent van gogh? are they public domain? like, what im really asking is, if i went on redbubble and just uploaded a shirt of starry night, would someone sue me for profiting off of starry night without authorization and if so who would i get the cease and desist from?


    in the eyes of one who believes all is art, we can examine things like the artistic process itself as art. i have found a recent affection for the concept of inspiration, and how we collect and save things for inspiration in order to create our own art. the concept of the mood board has intrigued me as its own art form. a collection purely of ideas, moods, thoughts and concepts that, when put together, form a certain idea in ones head for something to create. an understanding, a mental force that ties all of these disjointed emotions into one. that is so beautiful to me. ideas in the form of unintelligible writing is an extremely high form of this. there is such merit in writing down phrases that only you understand the true depth of. when you write something like that, just for you, it sparks an entire subconscious dialogue in your head about what it means. the spark of inspiration is beautiful and artistic, and it adds to the artistry of the artistic process. disjointed statements have a type of loveliness to them, in which you have to find the ties between them to try and understand its meaning. sometimes the meaning is that there is no ties, no meaning, and they really are just disjointed thoughts only associated together because of their physical proximity on a page. do you see the complexity that this becomes? that complexity adds so much hidden death to the concept, which makes it artistic. the understanding and observation of the complexity of something is what makes it art, and, because there are infinite understandings of everything in the universe, there are infinite complexities and therefore infinite pieces of art.


    the work of a young person on the early internet is one of the most interesting forms of art. the early online years were such a developing time for kids— myself included— that were interested in art and making things, as computers granted them access to those resources to animate or edit films, while also giving them a platform to share it. with the introduction to software like ms paint, gimp, paint tool sai, kidpix, etc, art suddenly became this easy thing of experimentation, impermanence, inconsequential with the help of ctrl-z.




  how many of us got our start creating faces with the circle tool- a mouth and two eyes- and moving the mouth circle around before placing it to make it sing along to a song? how many of us used the special stamps and brushes on kid pix to make little houses in the woods, have them catch on fire, and then click the dude that said ‘uh oh’ to start all over again? the amount of art we made suddenly had the chance to be infinite. too many drawings to feasibly put on one refrigerator. and then when we found art sharing websites, newgrounds and deviantart and youtube, we had a way to show our niche mspaint fanart and anime AMV’s made on the family computer when no one was looking to other people who might appreciate them. there are so many videos online— flash animations specifically— that were made with the intention of impressing new online friends that encouraged them. tonight I watched a video called “stick figures on crack 3” by PivotMasterDX, and the end of the video said something like “thank you to you all who told me not to end this series so short, and motivated me to do more.” that is hard solid proof that people on the internet made art and improved their craft for the sole purpose of making other people laugh. that is so incredible! and i feel like early youtube, ebaumsworld and newgrounds videos were so funny and new to us that we ended up watching them multiple times, sharing them with friends, wanting to spread the inside jokes about smash brothers that you didn’t realize anyone else got except for your friends on the playground. watching them over and over cemented them in our     
brains, our sense of humor, as we repeated phrases and made up our own spins on the jokes, processing the brand new form of entertainment that we
had discovered. no more were we alone in joking about pokemon, there were countless people on the internet doing  it with you. and those memories shaped our understanding of online, video production, video games, animation, audiences you can’t see. funny videos your older sibling showed you on the family computers became the basis for our exploration into online. the basis for motivation to  make art, to share something to the people online who would appreciate it the most. to know that someone across the planet could talk to you and like the same youtubers as you. flash animations, online skit channels, lego stop motion, all of these were a brand new form of amateur artmaking. the introduction to so many people into a creative career. In 50 years, what will art historians study as the art movement of the new millennium? The internet has given birth to a beautiful new movement, as it raised our generation on stylistic cartoons, infinite access to all artistic resources, the discovery of Wacom tablets, and most important of all- websites like DeviantArt, Newgrounds, and youtube to share and discuss the fruits of our labor. We were raised on constant feedback and exposure to the art of everyone. As we grew up and expanded our imagination, we developed a new style out of our Cartoon Network fanart and anime bases. We found artistic expressionism in the wide eyes of the online, created a new period of fine art rooted in cuteness and online popularity. The children of the 2000s built the new artistic movement— the Digital Cute.


    the internet was such a gateway into learning our self worth. i mentioned this in the first staple, that the internet was who taught me that i should ask for more and when to know i was worth more. i think it was the art scene i found. i figured out i was worth something when the invisible voices online said i was. 



gallery descriptions from mingala

    i was lucky enough to curate four digital exhibits for the open pit event “minegala” this past september. the experience was incredible, and brought so much light to amazing art i see every day online. i hope this opens doors to more unconventional artwork to be looked at in a fine art lens. these are the gallery descriptions i wrote for each wing of the museum.



21ST CENTURY ALBUM COVER


    The album cover has rooted itself in history as one of the most important art forms, creating iconic imagery that has influenced the course of music history forever. However, they are never recognized in galleries as the fine art that they are. The LP jacket design influenced all music lovers as they became music producers, as they conceptualized the packaging for their own releases and how they would impact the listeners. In the current digital age, it is so easy to overlook the magic of release artwork as we are constantly moving onto the next thing. This exhibit looks into the genius and beauty of album design and music release since the year 2000, an under appreciated and rarely recognized form of fine art.




21ST CENTURY TRADITIONAL


    With the development of the digital art movement, those still working in traditional art mediums continue to breed and bring to fruition beautiful works of art with the same materials used for centuries, only under the new lens of a post-Y2K society. Hundreds of years ago, we were commissioning oil painters for portraits to hang in manors, and today those same paints are being used to create immaculate works from the minds of young people who now have the power to create masterpieces. The medium hasn’t changed, only the people have.




ART FROM COMPUTERS


    With the new widespread access to computers, the desperate need of humans to create has clawed out a brand new form of art that wasn’t even conceptually possible a hundred years ago. An entirely new genre of its own, art we make with computers and the programs we have developed show there is truly no end to artistic innovation. We forced the ability to create onto machines that were originally developed just for crunching numbers. There was no way to create these new works of art without the technological developments, so we developed the technology. We are in an entirely new age of artistic expression through the access of our computers, something completely new and unprecedented, and, because you are reading this on a computer, you can participate in this new movement TODAY.




    thinking a lot about the concept of love as an artform. because, of course, if love and kindness are the greatest things man can participate in, and so is art, love must be a form of art. are the butterflies you give me beautiful like paint on a canvas? the stomach pain the day after, lurching and waiting. it spreads to my chest, into my heart, paint dripping in the wrong direction but its a good kind of pain. like im anxious for the right reasons. you make me hear the song from the montage in ratatouille in my head. you make the pit in my stomach fit right. the way we held hands for the first time with so little confidence that it was the right thing to do. and the way i reached for your hand the next morning because i knew it was. there has to be some art in that tenderness, in the kiss you gave me before we left. in that softness. i see the colors and i see the meaning.  




the pursuit of fun and happiness is the highest form of good there is, so long as it does not inflict onto others




    there is no higher good than the pursuit of self happiness and fun. the act of doing something purely for fun is blindingly good, as it is the action of doing something only to create positivity and put more goodness into the world. fun is the only thing comparable to the ability to create. the act of having fun creates goodness, which means it is the greatest thing one can do. so often people pursue activities that only make them feel worse. take jobs they dont want because they feel like they have to, etc.. and so often people choose to do nothing because they believe that there would be no productive value in doing something fun. there is always value in doing something fun, ESPECIALLY when there is nothing productive about it. life is so often condensed to what we complete and how productive we are. there are so many aspects of life made PURELY to have fun! video games! movies (sometimes!) painting (sometimes!) playing board games! dancing! there is so much good to pursue in the world.

    there is so much inherent beauty in watching people enjoy life. once i walked through central park on a saturday afternoon with my best friend and i all of the sudden realized all of the beauty in all things pure and fun. a woman did a pregnancy photoshoot with her husband and first child, and it was beautiful because they were so excited to be sharing this experience of new life together. i saw a group of boys roller skating around cones, in a box labeled “OUT KEEP” in that order, and it was beautiful because these moments with their friends will become formative memories in their life. people played volleyball in a patch of sand in the middle of the pavement set up specifically for volleyball. that means someone thought about volleyball players, other people, and thought to include something purely to help them have fun into the structure of central park. at its core, that is someone being considerate of someone else and going out of their way to promote their enjoyment. is that not so beautiful? the pursuit of fun is the highest form of good because it is the highest agent of chaos. it has no reason, and we do it anyway. so many things we do for fun have no societal, economic benefit, no benefit to our survival or physical wellbeing, only our mental— only to chase that good feeling. humans could have gone all of their existence just working for survival and for social power, but there is something in our DNA that pushes us to pursue happiness through means of entertainment. and we go after it! that is so incredible.

    a world where people escape those societal bounds of what is important and   necessary is one where all parties are enjoying themselves. so much of what is considered ‘success’ in our culture requires that one party be oppressed or fucked over in order for another to reap the benefits.

    alongside the virtues of being kind to all, the pursuit of fun must be pursued only without the infliction of pain unto others. there can only be pure happiness and goodness through happiness when it does not come at the expense of others. the pain of others completely cancels out the happiness.

    there is no greater evil than the greed of men in power. every single day i am baffled and terrified by the lack of remorse and compassion by so many people. they will cut any corner and take any risk necessary to generate more money and keep the people they deem to be under them in check. why do some people feel the need to assert their dominance over others? how do you explain to someone who genuinely feels nothing for anyone else how to care for others? it sounds cliche but we are really one human race under the sun. why does it matter where someone immigrates from? why cant tthey stay? how is that hurting you, if not only monetarily? does a human life not have more value than any dollar sign amount? one human life existing and thriving is priceless. yet some people fail to see that, some people spend their time punishing others for depriving them of maximum funds. it is disgusting and we must ttake every action possible against it. we must kill the institution of greed to found a love for each other that is unconditional and supportive.

    i dont intend on dwelling on negativity, but the inverse of pursuit of endless kindness is the pursuit of harm. there is no greater evil. to hurt another with intent is to inflict harm on the only purity in the world— our undeniable quest to feel good. by harming others or judging them, inflicting prejudice on others because of their skin or sexuality or gender or any trivial reason, you are cementing yourself as the evil that must be eradicated. there is no room for hatred in the quest for universal peace and love. elton john summed up my feelings about hatred, economic and systemic disposition, and the evils of money and prejudicial targeting, best in an interview with rolling stone:


EJ: And the poorest economies. If we leave people behind because of their circumstances, because they’re gay black men or incarcerated or intravenous users, then we give them no hope. And that’s the most evil thing I can think of.



12:38 am, two people drive by in a convertable car. theres music playing and talking but you cant make out either. they go by and for a second you absorb all of this and then they're gone. thats two people having a time of their life. a moment they'll look back on as one of those ordinary extraordinary  moments where nothing really was happening but everything was perfect. you got to witness that for a split second, these people loving life. isnt that so beautiful? even for a second you got to partake, secondhand, in a moment to remember forever. these are the moments we live for. even when they're not your own, i live to witness the love of others.




holding of excess money in high amounts beyond personal security is DESPICABLE, and shoukd be used to help attain a standard quality of living, to advance effords to fix the environment and the damage caused by humans, or to pay reparations to marginalized people who have been deprived of the same opportunity to money and success,



    i’m not an economist, and i don’t think i can accurately do any research to prove any of these points, so here are my feelings on this:




this is not a black and white issue.

    a professor of mine once asked if the accumulation of wealth is wrong. i said to a point. he said, after a certain number, it’s wrong to grow your wealth? i said, if you accumulate a certain amount of wealth, and you do not use that money to redistribute the wealth and help others, it is wrong. he said that’s not what i’m asking. my blood boiled. he asked if it was wrong to make money. how could i tell him the entire system was flawed, that the entire concept of wealth and capitalism is inherently evil and immoral? you don’t, a friend said.

    there are so many intricacies and factors that go into the world of capitalism and wealth. i’m an artist, not an economic expert, so please take everything i say with a grain of salt. i could very well have the facts wrong. but i cannot see how a world in which people are suffering every day at the hands of the system can be good. one where people are starving, freezing, dying because they’re denied access to basic human needs. there are billionaires who could solve world hunger and homelessness 3x over (yes, im looking at you, jeff bezos, whos current networth at the time of writing this of $111 billion could solve hunger 3x over. world hunger would cost about $30 billion a year to solve, according to the UN.)

    is that not so evil? people are dying and you’re sitting on a pile of wealth impossible to spend in any lifetime?

    i’m not saying give away all of your wealth. buy a house. buy your mom a house. a pool, a boat, a car, whatever. billionaires will still have billions of dollars left over.

    i dont even know how to get into how i think the system needs to restart. i keep thinking about how hippie communes had it right. communal living, respecting the environment, creative freedom, no societal pressures? that sounds kind of like… like they had it right. why should i have to prove that i deserve food and shelter? is that not something i’m entitled to as part of survival? how is it that we allow people to capitalize on our livelihood? why is the basis of our system making some people better than others? like fuck the founding fathers, but all men are created equal and this system does not make people equal. i don’t know if any system will.

    so what do i propose we do? ideally, anarchy, start over. not to sound like tyler durden but return the planet to the earth and redistribute resources to allow for all people to survive. abolish the money system and instead teach kindness and the value of making things for the sake of helping others, for the purpose of happiness and survival. i know humans aren’t that good at that. some people will want greed, value, power, they will not understand why they should do things that benefit other people. is it possible to restart the system so far that we can make the core of human motivation helping and loving? maybe not. but its a nice thought.

    what can we do, realistically? REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH. billionaires should be taxed up the ass to provide help to people who have been systematically targeted and punished by the same system that rose the wealth of the upper class. reparations to minorities, damaged by generations of colonialism and imperialism. reparations for loss of culture and loss of life. providing help to those who need it— ending hunger, homelessness, (there are around 3.5 million homeless people in the US and around 18.5 million empty homes— do the math), provide funding to scientific research that can help minimize our carbon footprint, cancer research, mental health aid, college tuition funding (or abolish student debt/tuition entirely) fix flint’s water crisis, cancellation of debt… there are so so so many things we could fix with the incredible amount of wealth accrued. so many issues to fix, that CAN be fixed within the system we’ve created. i want to fix the world. i dont know if i can because i’m a poor kid from massachussetts that went into thousands of dollars in debt to learn how to make clothes. i can’t figure out how to stop climate change, but i can write out what i think onto this page and tell you. maybe one of you can read this and start something?



    i have grown a strong and fearful distrust of the world and those in control of it. i find myself in fear of things smaller than myself, and those around me, as if there’s some hidden motive to dismantle me before i can dismantle it. i find myself paranoid and distrustful of people i once cherished and enjoyed my time with. i worry my friends are hiding hatred from me. i worry this fear will keep me from living my life in the way i implore all people should.



 creativity and artistic expression is the greatest thing mannkind can create, and each person should strive to find some form of artistic output in order for a fully healthy lifestyle




    even when i am at my lowest, completely rock bottom, i still find the energy to create. i think it’s the guilt that eats at me. while creation is the greatest action man can partake in, it is also so easy to be consumed by the guilt of not creating. i am constantly pursued by the need to always be productive, to always make something to feel like i have purpose in life. i have forsaken all other forms of purpose in life to pursue creation full time. i have dedicated my life to creating things that attempt to make others happy. so every moment when i am relaxing, sleeping, not doing anything— the guilt of not producing something of value haunts me. this is the folie of the gift of creation.

    however, it can bring me out of these low moments where there seems to be no reason for me to live. so many days i walk around without purpose, just totally consumed by my sadness or loneliness. but somehow i still find the energy to create something, and sometimes it helps me forget the loneliness for a while.

    i spent most of my summers during high school holing myself up in my room. it got worse after my first year of college. i went out with friends sometimes, sure, but once we had all spent a year apart and most of my school friends had forgotten about me, it happened less and less. or they went out without me. i wouldn’t know. but my life had become this cycle, of work and sleep and nothing else. i would go work at the video store in my hometown during the day, and come home and paint or sew at night. and that was it, for three months. i wouldn’t let myself play video games or relax because i was chased by this guilt that i had to make money, to work, to be productive in order to mean something. the only company i really had were the movies i brought home from work. it started with one or two, which i would watch while drawing over the time until my next shift, but it soon grew and sometimes i had eight movies out at a time. the blu ray player sat underneath the swivel chair my tv was propped up on and it ran constantly, voices in the background to talk to me while i pretended to talk to god. is this what they call escapism? i know i was trying to escape, something, maybe loneliness, maybe my home, maybe myself.  i think i’ve always defined one’s meaning in life by how the ones they love perceive them, and i didn’t have anyone i loved there to perceive me. i painted friends on the wall, but they never talked back, and i made things, the best thing i could do, alone. 
 


    i was revived when my friends in other states and countries reminded me that they were there and they could help. this is why collaborative creation can be such a gift and should be seeked out. it can put art out into the world, and with the help of others, that art can be elevated to a level that cannot be achieved alone. not only is it OK to ask for help, i encourage all of you to ask for help when you need it or want it. working with others reminds you that you are not alone. when you feel like you have discarded friendships in order to pursue your artistic vision, take a step back and work with someone else. anyone else— friends, family, strangers in the park, coworkers, pets anyone around you. remind yourself that you have friends, collaborators, people who love you. combine the two greatest goods of the universe and pursue fun while creating. creation for fun has just as much, if not more value, than creation only for purpose.

    the image of the starving artists exists from a need to place someone in the role of pity. art is (i would say) a widely appreciated concept, as in, the finished pieces of history on display in museums, but as a current, artists are placed in the role of respect but disgust. society lauds numbers, lawyers, reason and money. in families of success the role of an artist is the black sheep. a lost cause. it’s the system of upholding money and putting down creativity because it doesn’t add anything ‘substantial’ or ‘progressive’ to society. art is seen as the antithesis of progression, as it dwells on the past and the interior. however, the art and the introspective are the only ways for us to truly progress— into the direction of love and acceptance. money has no place in the world of emotion. to move past money, the concept that places all into the reigns of the unfortunate, we must turn to art and mindful introspection to find love in our own thought. once we are able to find the love in us, we can turn it outward, and advance society in that direction.

    the image of the starving artist being glamorized also perpetuates the idea that the only way to create meaningful works of art is to be inspired by the squalor and suffering in which one lives in/has lived through. to destroy this narrative is to ask, to what means to an end are worth it for inspiration? inspiration comes from anywhere and anything, and no origins of inspiration are better than another. if it produces artwork, the greatest thing man can create, the inspiration is meaningful. but does this mean it’s worth it to go through self destructive means to become inspired? while art is the greatest thing man can do, to engage in self destructive behaviors in order to create art, i believe, is unnecessary and harmful to the overall artistic process. the artist is just as important as the work they create, and if the artist is damaged as a result of creation, it is akin to the worst sin man can commit— intention harm unto others. your body and mind matter just as much as others, and one should do all they can to prevent harm from it. this means protecting yourself, even if it means the artistic process suffers.

    artistic inspiration can come from places without self destruction. it can come from anywhere, it just takes a little practice. if you are truly stuck, just start with things around you. still life sketches, portraits of people you see on the street, a self portrait. and keep going until something strikes you and you have the motivation to work on a piece with elements from your head— or something from reality that strikes you. inspiration will strike. i promise.

    fine art shouldnt be tied to suffering and have it be looked at as a positive. in order to remedy this, we need to change the system that puts artists, especially queer artists and artists of color, into dangerous and sub par living situations. create more jobs and change the stigma against artists that they are undeserving of consideration as a real career. up the prices on original works of art to reflect the work that goes into them. artistic grants should be commonplace and easy to get so that the magic of creation becomes a full time, livable job for anyone who wishes to make that time. i’m no economist or whatever, but tax the fucking rich! in the revolution we need to either abolish the money system or take a fraction of jeff bezos’  110.2 billion fucking dollars to provide housing, supplies, support systems for artists. we must kill the image of the glamorous starving artist. we must promote the image of the hard working artist that is under appreciated in their plight, one that deserves adequate compensation for their important work.

    i sit here today, feeling in euphoric in my hedonism. a chair and a blanket, sweatpants and a notebook, laundry running and a glass of ginger ale. i’ve been sitting here for hours. i sit here and read other manifestos, reflecting on my thoughts, my life as an artist, surrounded by friends and others all relaxing in their own comfort normally only seen by the self. complete security in those around you. unprecedented love— or maybe it’s the scented candle? i am the most at peace here, surrounded by love and friendship and art. i’ve been told i need more evidence to prove my manifesto, to convince others, but i look at how i feel right here and now, and i think, this is the most evidence i will ever get. the evidence of my mantra is that can only come from feeling, from the soul. my only evidence is myself and my experience, and my full faith that this feeling can and should be universal.


    another thing to consider is the effects of psychedelics and drug use on the artistic process. do they highten the process, or do they hinder the natural inspiration that stirs inside each of us? we all have the ability to create. this is not up for debate. each and every person, with a little or enough soul searching and experimentation, can create a piece of artwork. everyone has done it even without knowing. and we each have the ability to create work that is meaningful to each of us in the same way. but that’s at our base, as humans. do psychedelics heighten our abilities to create? do they elevate us past the status of human nature? i ask this because of the circumstances and things psychedelics do to the brain. psychs allow us to see things that are not normally there, or allow us to see the beauty and merit in things that are always around us that we take for granted. we are granted access to another portion of our brain that conjures these ideas and inspiration that we could not have released from our subconscious without the help of drugs. there is so much beauty in that alone. so when making art based around those ideas, is that cheating? or is that just using chemicals to reach a higher sense of self? i think that both use of psychedelics and non use are valid in the world of creation. while we all have the ability to create meaningful work to us through the parts of the brain we can access without drugs, there is also merit in exploring the parts of our subconscious and creating art based on what we find. it’s important to dig through parts of us we cannot see without help, and to properly express those ideas we must create art. write things down, paint, draw, speak at lengths about our experiences and what we discovered about ourselves. using chemicals is not cheating if its the only way to access those ideas we didnt even realize we had. its not for everyone. and it is by no means healthy on a repeated basis. but. if it is something one wishes to view, to unlock another part of themselves to explore and express themselves through the art of their subconscious, the art created as a result is still such a valid piece of work.
 


    there are also instances where people believe the only way they can conjure inspiration for art they feel they must create is through the use of psychedelics. this is dangerous and unhealthy, not only for the body and mind because of the repeated drug use, but to the artistic spirit in the soul that we are all born with. there must be an equilibrium of heightened experience and sober consciousness in order to have a balanced healthy artistic lifestyle. pete townshend quoted in his book how he was never high, not on marijuana or acid, when watching jimi hendrix perform because he needed to see how he performed his magic without anything else interfering. i think this is really important for finding inspiration and experiencing the art of others, as well as creating for yourself. if you are constantly in a place of psychedelia then there is no baseline as to greater appreciate your experience, and therefor no place to appreciate what you are creating from a higher place. you must have a balance to find your critical eye, not for what is good and bad in art, but for what is good for YOU. to appreciate the work of others. experiencing art under the influence can diminish the purpose of another artists work. but maybe that art, influenced by what you’re tripping on, is another form of art itself? i suppose so.

   


the pursuit of stardom and iconography is not a noble one, but it is one i aminexplicably tied to and unable to quit, and while the need to be admired and famous is not a good need, it is not necessarily a bad one either

      in this society, controlled by influencers and celebrity and iconography, a common goal of many is to achieve stardom. this is totally understandable! we associate stardom with wealth, notoriety, and success, which i think (even just subconsciously) we associate with comfort of living. very fair and accurate association!!!

    but, i think ive come to the conclusion  that the pursuit of stardom is not a noble one, based on what the connotations around stardom are today. the modern day celebrity is the influencer, who does just that— influences others, people who look up to them, often to purchase products or act/look a certain way. and theres nothing wrong with inspiration! (i would hope this manifesto has convinced you that i am a huge fan of inspiration.) but i worry about the implications of that success, and the mental impact it has on young people. there is so much of our youth that is spent through self discovery, and the influence of influencers who look and act a certain way. i worry about the weight loss lollipops, the unattainable and expensive skincare routines, and their impact on the mental image of young women. i feel as if these unattainable images will push young people to places and images they’re not truthful to. the influence of the influencer reduces space for the self expression and discovery, which could lead to artistic exploration… and i worry about the artistic exploration in the era of the influencer as well. my entire career is based on social media… i worry, do i create to create, or do i create to post and receive the validation ? i so often draw something and instantly want to post it and let compliments flow in. why cant i just sit and revel with the marvel of what ive done— draw something, conjure a new image with my own hands? is validation the only reason i create? i have to believe this isn’t true, but this drive to post and connect is the pursuit of stardom that i am inexplicably tied to as a result of this age i’ve grown up in. toxic, yes, but it pushes me to keep creating, to share my creations, and to spread their joy. is that reason enough to allow stardom to exist? i suppose so.




    a common concern of mine is the line between actual insanity and one manufactured by my mind to fit a mold of what is considered to be a legend. i am so so often convinced that i am actually losing my mind. seeing things out of the corner of my eyes, pushing myself to extremes to make art, feeling like i’m on the verge of passing out at any moment, extreme hyperactivity, goinhg in and out of focus of reality. but my perception of what a ‘legend’ is is inexplicably tied with the process of mental decay. all great artists i and so many others admire suffered through some kind of mental breakdown. one to note is henry darger, whos library of works outgrew him significantly and it is apparent his obsession with young children and the world he built around him through his artistic narrative reflected his mental struggles with God and other things going on as he aged. his journals and narratives are studied intensely now and he is revered as an artistic genius. keith haring is another— while the mental decay doesnt necessarily apply here, one could argue his struggles and physical illness and eventual tragic death only amplified his iconic image and art. his journals were dissected, analyzed, and published in book form. i think this is what i want to be. i want to have my journals dug through and eventually placed into a glass box for observation at a museum. i want my sketches and ideas immortalized and studied as the work of a genius. but this motivation potentially taints anything i make further, as it could now be a performance for those in the future, those who i want to immortalize me.

    the line between performance and actual inner dialogue is so so fine and so hard to draw. i constantly have episodes with myself where the whole time i’m thinking, who will know about this? what will be the publics perception and reaction to this? how will my image change? i find myself performing to no one. perpetuating an image when no one is there to see. what does that mean about the mental self image? is it really a performance if no one if there to think about it? or is the performance we put on for ourselves representative of our true self?

    i  feel treacherous for even speaking about this because im afraid it perpetuates the fact that i’m making all of this up to look some kind of way to you, the reader. im afraid that talking about my act is all part of the image i’m trying to create for you. that’s the issue with the idea of self image— that there is no one form, and no real way to tell if what you’re entertaining is real or if you really did just make it up for no one to see.



 
there is no reality, no meaning, no one definition— unless you want there to be.



    i get asked a lot about what my pieces mean. i say they mean nothing, and everyone always says, well they have to mean something. and i say no, they’re just for fun. and some people say, isnt that a meaning itself? to have no meaning, to be fun?

    i suppose they’re right. that’s the meaning they’ve decided on for themselves, and that’s the meaning they will project onto my work. there is meaning there because they have decided there is.

    there is only meaning and reality when you project it out into the universe yourself. there is no stasis of time— everything is constantly moving, changing, evolving into new forms… on a microscopic physical level atoms are always moving and cells are dividing, no things are in the exact same place at the same time. time is constantly flowing and shifting. everything is constantly flowing and shifting. this manifesto will probably never be truly finished, because i change and become someone new each second, i have new ideas, think more about my life and how i want to live. every day, a new perception of life emerges. each new second, a new nonreality is born. we call out into the universe, searching for answers, and get nothing back because there are no answers to our questions.

    what reason was the universe created? why it expands, why humans evolved, why we feel and emote and constantly search for the next good feeling? there is no explanation for so many things. even with science stuff, which can explain so much, when you get to the root of that why do those things even exist in the first place? chemicals, atoms, molecules whatever, how did the fabric of our universe— our meaning for all meanings— come into existence and why?  throughout history we have came up with stories to make sense of the nonsense we exist in. and we believe them to be true. without proof, we make it our reality. therefor, everything is true and nothing is true, simultaneously.

    art exists to find meaning in the meaningless, for without it we would     spiral. that’s why art is everything and everywhere, because we needed to find meaning in our world in order to grow. we needed to see the beauty, the art in everything, in order to build upon it and build new beauty, new reality, new art.



    but i think i’ve had enough of reality and meaning, and it’s time for me to let go into the void of the universe and embrace the nonsense we exist in, embrace no meaning.

    my work has no meaning because nothing does and nothing needs it. nothing will exist continually. people will project their own meaning, but in the end, there is none other reality than the one you decide to place yourself in.



what’s the point of being serious when you can make it fun?



with much love,

elena



“art has no meaning because it

art is different for every individual, and is definable only by the given individual.

there are no set  answers, only questions.”

-keith haring, 1978








sources, inspirations, quotes of note… things to consider




https://thomas-peham.com/projects/world-hunger

https://www.mintpressnews.com/empty-homes-outnumber-the-homeless-6-to-1-so-why-not-give-them-homes/207194/30




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OegshtPcedA



“the manspring of his genius was curiosity”


“childhood is akin to genius, as to a childeverything is new and bright, nothing is stale— to achieve artistic genius is to rediscover childhood, to look at the world and life through the lense of someone seeing it for the first time again”


“thus the lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy.”





-charles baudelaire


So I was talking w/ a friend about some thoughts on art and when I sent them a specific message, it made me recall the conversation we had - so I thought you might be interestedArt in the current day and age is far too often looked at as a noun - Because to call it a noun would mean that you are able to quantify it. Nouns are "people, places, and things" as we're taught in our earliest days of schooling, but art isn't a thing - it's an expression of the human ethos in a way that no THING can quantify.If I were to pick up a painting, am I holding art? No - I'm holding a canvas, with stuff on it. Art is not something that exists in the world outside of our minds - because art is purely in our minds and nowhere else. Art is what we interpret from things, not the things themselves.In a sense, I consider art to be a verb - which is described as an action, state, or occurrence. To me, there is a mental state that we are put into by art, a state either directly or indirectly created by the actions of an artist, in which the interpretation of said art is a unique occurrence, souley taking place in our mind and nowhere else.


           

                               -Nicolas Babick @babick_



other manifestos read  (or at least skimmed):

manifesto of surrealism (1924) by andré breton

scum manifesto (1968) by valerie solanas (while this one is interesting, i renounce her transphobic statements. it’s a very terfy manifesto)

the painter of modern life and other essays, charles baudelaire

keith haring journals

cybertwee manifesto, cybertwee collective




    i strongly recommend reading this alongside keith harings’ journals. after finishing the majority of this manifesto, i began to read keith harings’ journal entries, and was so blown away and comforted at how similar his thoughts were to mine. here are some quotes from his journal entries ( during the reading i’ve done so far:) that i felt i most related to:




“i know that i’ll end up somewhere for some reason or no reason”




through all the shit, shines the small ray of hope that lives in the common sense of the few. the music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts; the forms of expression, the arts of hope.”




“nothing is constant. everything is constantly changing”




“I keep writing because before I try to explain how i feel i am living with this ‘reality’ i want to try to explain (to myself) that it really is a reality, that it exists, and that i’m doing things in a way that is not totally without reason.”




“it seems like high time for the realization that art is in everything and everywhere”




“art as an end to the question ‘what is it?’ or ‘what does it mean?’ the meaning of art as it is experienced by the viewer, not the artist. the artists ideas are not essential to the art as seen by the viewer… there is no definition. definition can be the most dangerous, destructive tool the artist can use when he is making art for a society of individuals.”




“art is for everybody”




“i am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached”




“art has no meaning because it has many meanings, infinite meanings. art is different for every individual, and is definable only by the given individual. there are no set answers, only questions.”




“to define my art is to destroy the purpose of it… nobody knows what the ultimate meaning of my work is because there is none. there is no idea. there is no definition. it doesnt mean anything.”