The Torso as a Canvas

Art is a great minister to the community, the world and society. It can bring peace, solace , excitement and wonder .How we experience the wonder of  a beautiful artwork , or the mystery of something more subtle , or how we engage with something  unimaginably ugly that we are told is art, is quite individual.  And sadly this is being lost  . Are we allowed to see art as an individual?  We so often  understand art as something that we have been told about  or seen in a publication. At an instillation we stand before the great work and a certain familiarity gives us comfort and a reassurance that we have seen the real thing . We have a little more knowledge though we secretly wish we were better educated still . And maybe after two minutes or even much less , we walk away .  At the  gallery shop , we indulge in the comfort of  the  postcards of the pictures we have  seen . We find so many that we are pleased we have remembered them and confirm that  we  have had a good educational day out . Beware the uniformity of interpretation less the canvas becomes a place for marketing.

But the place of art is not confined to a gallery or large outdoor static structure. The Torso is a canvas . Occasionally  a work of art beauty will be seen on a smart piece of clothing on a  taught body .  But so often, the Torso as a canvas is an ugly place. Take a walk in any high street as  evidence of the Torso trying “to do” art. . In so many  places of beauty we are confronted by the ugly artistic Torso. As a contrast to the beauty and elegance of St Mark’s Square in Venice , Carnival Pete and Carnival Will  could not be called an elegant couple .Tee Shirts and fattened vibrating belies with a message and a sticky label reminding them and telling me of their cruise ship and name screamed Ugliness in a place of beauty. Various messages on  numerous torsos.  “Santa Monica Fun Run  I did it ”  “FAT FACE”  ” Call me if you want me ” “Oxford University ” I can do it ”  ” Guess”  ”  I ❤ NY ”   Well maybe you do love New York , but you are in Venice , so I don’t want to know this irrelevant fact . Why scream it at the crowds in Venice?  If you are trying to tell the world you are well travelled and been to NY and Venice , well so have lots of others and you may not be so special after all . Is the message for me as an onlooker?  I want beauty please , not overstretched messaging on an overstretched Torso . Or who wants the right hand shoulder tattoo  of ” North Face” on all the pieces of clothing from that company .  It intrudes on the clothing and screams to be read. Yes , it is an advertisement , a marketing message . It intrudes and could better be labelled East Shoulder .But why do we as customers not demand a fee for  strutting around as a bill board ? Most shoulders do not overstretch or wobble , so placing “Face” on a Shoulder  may be less jarring . If you have clothing with a banal message or a message that stretches to ugliness over your Torso would you please  consider how it appears? Would you consider how foolish the message may be ? Did you pay a premium for an article of clothing  advertising a university which would not consider you as a student ? If the branded clothing was more affordable than a patterned  piece of clothing economics may win out , but so often the branded souvenir  teeshirts are inferior quality and inflated prices. Let those that want us to market their products with their names prominently ablaze  a Torso consider the ugliness . Good quality producers , are you so insecure that blazon Branding is your only ugly way to sell ?Can you not remember the superior quality of elegance? 

So may the beauty of the human form and the care of dressing  blend with the historical or natural  beauty around you .May the Torso of  Marketing Ugliness be a thing we will not collude with.May we be able to express and understand art as individuals and not pushed into a corporate comfort of drabness of mind and  drabness of interpretation .

1 thought on “The Torso as a Canvas

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