When you are a visual person, you develop an inherent distrust for descriptive words. The word the "romance" conjures up a lot of different things for different people. So when I contemplated using the word “romantic” as a word to describe my art, I knew it could and would mean that people would apply their own meaning to the word.
Possibly the word would feel too old, too feminine, or too ingenue. For some it may even draw a blank for them, and that they would feel like didn’t apply to any aspect of their lives. Romance for some might be relegated to weddings, bride and well, flowers.
I prefer to renew the term as it relates to the Romanticism, the period or movement. This movement happened as a pendulum swing away from philosophical and intellectual values of The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. It was a cry for the use of senses and intuition to be employed to decipher the world. As a reaction to the perils that over industrialization was bringing, the emphasis on a return to nature seems quite reasonable to us in hindsight.
For me, the idea of ushering in a “New Romantic Era” is to be acutely aware of what your senses are showing you. It’s seeing in a new way (or possibly and old way.) Intuition and discernment should be a muscle that we flex now more than ever. Intense emotion combined with wisdom can help us create and understand new experiences. Trusting our senses and imagination should never be playing down.
So much “actual thinking” seems to be being replaced with AI, that’s artificial intelligence for those of you who refuse to use geek speak. We have been lulled into being told how we should feel (marketing to emotion) and what to decide (all those reviews to read through!) Whether it is to make a purchase or in choosing a political candidate, stopping to take in all we “know” before acting with move forward seems perilously close to being completely out of our grasp.
In this digital era more than ever, simulation is being confused with experience and we are forfeiting the smells and sights and beauty that sear into our memories that last a lifetime. That help of form thoughts and take actions that lead us to live genuinely rich lives. We text instead of talk, missing the nuances and inflections in voices that help us decipher what someone is really saying. We talk about sensing someone’s energy but without actually meeting them, how can we possibly do that in a complete manner?
Artificial and digital intelligence lacks imagination and therefore lacks genius and genius is the secret sauce of life.
Being a New Romantic means having a vivid, lustful, intelligent, spiritual romance with life. It means relying on all our senses and feelings without smothering them, dulling them or even overwhelming them.
One of the most profound things about art is its ability to speak to us throughout time. What a privilege it is to create an artwork that has the potential to whisper to the viewer throughout the ages. When I stood in front of a Gustav Klimt painting last year at the Belvedere in Vienna, tears gathered in my eyes as the painting reached into my soul in a way that a simple google image search never could have done. The size, texture and color of the piece incorporated with the air, breadth of the room and even the temperature of the day outside as I left to walk back to my hotel is still with me in a profound way. Now when I see this piece online or look over at the postcard that I purchased, everything comes rushing back from the nearly shed tears to the delicious cakes I had in the cafes during the visit.
Romance makes sure when don’t forget the rich and the real emotions that we were gifted with and being an New Romantic means helping make sure others don’t forget it either.