ART as gifts/ individualism

Art works below are the ones I gave to my friends and family as gifts. I think whatever handmade is a sweet and better gift than merely purchased mass-produced materials. I believe it is better for a sender to create something than going to a mall, and also better for a receiver to have something unique and original. And I believe it is better for today’s globalized world that looks like it is about to be owned by corporations that don’t give a shit about real human culture.

Americans value individualism, but it is clear that cultural homogeneity is happening as huge corporations influence the mass through mass media. Advertisers and PR are ruthless. They are full of shit too. Media has been dumbing down many many brains. Anyway, if you just look around, so many people are dressed the same and think the same. How many places in America have to look identical, dominated by chain restaurants and shopping malls with the same companies in? Good communities with small businesses are getting harder to find. Commercialism is killing a uniqueness, individualism and diversity in the culture.

I am from Japan and Japan is one of the most collectivistic countries in the world. One of the characteristics of collectivism is that people in collectivistic countries value harmony as a group more than individual’s  uniqueness, being outstanding and independence and such. But after having been living in the U.S. for more than 5 years, I had to conclude that not so many people are unique here. And people can’t take “weirdness.” They freak out and get mad when they hear something like “communism” or something that oppose to famous American propaganda. And they don’t even know the meaning of the word or what it is. It seems like to me that Japanese people are chill about being “normal,” and Americans are collectively trying to be unique, which make them not unique at all especially when they try to be “cool” according to what’s “cool” by mass media. I think they have better chance in pursuit of uniqueness if they consume better media and maybe read good books or something.

But what can you do? You know only what you know. Our brains are essentially full of information we perceive through senses, each person processes it differently, but when there are only the same information circulating in the world we live, it is really hard to be a different or unique individual. And it probably harder for modern people because corporations constantly feeding propaganda directly into consumers’ mouths. Corporations can do that because media organizations need money from advertisers. Media works by selling advertising space to corporations. And it of course is to fuel the consumption.

I don’t know any sadder tragedy than this modern world created around materialism and commercialism and corpocracy and all the nonsense comes with them. But I do believe that creative activities can save brainwashed brains that believe something like “you are what you wear.” Act like writing, painting, drawing and playing music requires critical thinking. You need to be creative, think critically and self-critisize. I guess it is called soul-searching.

Creative work is a reflection of some sort of reality. When you create art, you are trying to express something out of whatever kind of information you have in your brain, and your own (nobody else’s) perspective of the reality is what makes your art really good and mind-blowing. Work by Banksy is a really good example because it is really intelligent and reflective of the current world. Novels by Haruki Murakami are great because nobody wrote like him as far as I know, and his works are highly sophisticated and I think they describe the spiritual emptiness of Japan really well especially in Norwegian Wood and South of the Border, West of the Sun. There are limitless ways to see the world and it is healthy to have our own. We don’t need to stay in the box.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I think we should start creating something valuable that actually represents ourselves.


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