*Influencer Infinite

Photographer: James Hammerick | March 2018

Have you ever watched WAKING LIFE? It’s one of my favorite films and I believe you should watch it if you haven’t yet. There is one line in it in particular that sticks to me, it suggests ( for thought) that reincarnation is humanity’s poetic expression for collective consciousness.

I think about that often, and especially since my mother passed. Occasionally I try to speak with her “ghost”, connect with whatever is out there of hers, because I imagine that parts of us have no choice but to linger where they naturally existed. Granted I’m usually stoned when I do this, so take that for what it’s worth.

When I was in college I wrote a thesis on geisha, the point of the paper was that art is the most integral part of any culture for connecting generations to their roots. As I had a panic attack on my 31st birthday trying to feel my mother’s presence again I held her prayer card. We spent a lot of money paying for her prayer cards to have gold-inlay. I studied Art History, my favorite religious art period was the Byzantine era, so that’s what I wanted for her funeral card’s art. If you have never seen Byzantine era art, you can see similar religious art today in Greek Orthodox churches, and dare I say Catholic churches, although not quite as extravagantly.

I was raised Catholic and I believe there’s an intrinsic aesthetic influence due to that fact. I see how Catholicism domineers my tastes, my visual art, and my poetry. I believe once you were raised Catholic a little bit (or a lot) of it always lives in you. How could it not? The art and architecture is so breathtaking, the poetry is moving, and the cultural impact the Catholic church has had on the world is powerful.

That’s how, I guess, how even without a solid belief in religion I still find peace in the iconography, and the symbolism. My point being that art is a mysterious tool that should not be taken for granted.

I don’t know if I believe in a “beyond” in the traditional sense, but the more I ponder what I do believe the more I believe in a reality. My doubts come with only our limits of perception, even if we’re holograms. (Although my expertise falls way short of holography at this point in my life!) I think it’s imperative that artifacts of our culture’s art history to be preserved, because they’re sacred. Sacred is a powerful word if we allow it to be, sacred status gives people something to connect with that’s unpolluted when they’re completely lost. At least it has for me.

I think as a mother I might have taken this for granted, so far as raising my child is concerned. I don’t want the cultural significance of our most brilliant artistic masterpieces to disintegrate like old photos in a shoebox, or like the geisha are disappearing from Japanese landscapes taking with them many delicate trades the likes of musical instrument makers, silk craftsmen, and more. It’s my job as a parent who values art history to continue taking her to museums, travel with her if I can, and to talk to her about which art meant something to her family. It is my duty to show her the value in the art of other cultures which melts into the melting pot of human perseverance. If I don’t what was the point of that education? Why be cultured if you are going to take your culture for granted?

Paige Six | 11.25.20

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