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Artist Tomas Belsky - After Peace Corps Service in Brazil, where I met several naive (unschooled) painters, I felt my own destiny being clarified
Artist Tomas Belsky - After Peace Corps Service in Brazil, where I met several naive (unschooled) painters, I felt my own destiny being clarified.
Tomas Belsky - Paintings, Prints, Opinions...
My Story (The Short Version)
My personal artistic development has been continuous since childhood. Mother said I was making scrawls and markings on the crib as an infant. Throughout school, there were regular awards and encouragements despite the emphasis at home on "getting a real job" - like being a carpenter or a mason, etc. In College I drifted more toward history, literature and philosophy, feeling an intellectual vacancy, but always there were endless drawings and small paintings. After Peace Corps Service in Brazil, where I met several naive (unschooled) painters, I felt my own destiny being clarified. Since 1968, I have painted seriously, always remaining a part of what I consider the "popular culture" --the unsung heroes of our age. At market places in Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua as well as California and, of course, Hawaii, I have enjoyed doing pen/ink and watercolor sketches of na po'e, el pueblo --o povo-- the people.
Several of my paintings/prints have been purchased by the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture/Arts, and there are collectors with my work on perhaps all our earthly continents. An artist must both be part of and yet remain apart from the madness of his/her time. I firmly reject the ivory-tower posture, yet cannot long be comfortable totally enmeshed in the "now issues" that are frequently (to say the least) barbed with political strings and other entrapments. I keep a free hand and mind and pursue Justice for All --an ennobling aspiration for this son of immigrants born on the 4th of July. Whatever gifts that I hold are mine to spread amongst the people. There is much more I would like to do, especially in the Arts in Education, but capitalism, for all its grand material accomplishments, is not generous to artists like myself who dedicate their talents and time to the cause of a common good. As a child on the streets of New Jersey, I shined shoes; today I sometimes realize, ironically, that I then had more money than I do as an educated adult. But I would not exchange my place for another. The Gods have smiled upon me and I do say mahalo.
For the People of Hawaii, I have tried to impress the importance of artists in daily life. Artists are leaders, whether they are recognized or not. Other artists know who their compadres are. I have spent thousands of hours in poster production for the Hilo Community Players, and made some advances in the art of serigraphy. I'd love to do a manual of what I have learned. Art therapy in the schools and prisons will save many thousands of lives and dollars for these growing Isles. Artists are necessary!
My Story (The Long Version)
I wuz born in Joyszy not so near the sea and everything today I am though I've traveled and stayed away is some how touched by thee third star of the first thirteen they risked their lives to forge a Dream.
Allow us now a pleasant aside Rhyme has failed me and we've broken stride what must will be and that's all we know of that So they forged a dream of Freedom in a land that soon unfurled unsung treasures in forests stretching beyond the horizons.
I wuz born in one such used to be forest on the banks of the old Raritan which early kindled a kinship with Nature and Dreams of joy woven around Nature, and People of course because as 7th of Nine Children adjusted to three rooms, there were people around all the time.... except when one climbed a tree borrowed an apple thereof drawing constantly to settle the Joyszee Jitters.
The Raritan River to this day bears neither resemblance nor content of what was the River in 1910 when Vasili Andrewich Belsky got off the boat from Russia. There's a story there and we'll get to it one day. Meanwhile I was growing up the River was being raped by industrialist profiteers who recognized our mighty Raritan as a great cloaca anxious to receive the vile byproducts of band aids and batteries, pocket books and cigar boxes.
Jersey grew and I did, too. Occasionally while fishing or digging worms one came across an arrowhead fashioned of shining stone very different from other stones --and I remembered then that there were people here who lived with the Life of the River not so very long ago.
On painting- Matisse said that painters should be rendered speechless. On art, in general, the first strangeness comes with the accepted premise that the world "like," as in "I know what I like," must be stricken from the relevant vocabulary -- that is one can still say "I like it," but it's like an intellectual hold-- waiting for the substance to be uttered. Please, understand my prudish attitude is not anti-democratic, but progressive democratic. I, the prophet, the living sample of the education of the common man through enlightened policy makers who understood something of America's Role in World History.
Public Education in the early years is the key to my own rise to literacy. We all nine kids took it for granted, but Pop and Mom especially knew the importance of learning. Unlike Pagan Papa, She was a peasant of a village in Poland, as a Jewess she possessed all the smarts of her Tradition but only three years of education-- can read, can write. Her conversion to Christianity to marry Pagan Papa is another proof that America was more than a boat ride away from her own parents' ancient tradition. Education was the priority for all the children and, despite the mountain of responsibilities and the economic short-circuit, we all made it through high school. Free Public Education, I thank you as many other Americans must for this opportunity of which something has been made.
So instead of "I like it," let us say "It moves me." "It moves me" suggests something is happening to the viewer. Sh'he needs not like what is being stirred up inside --but the art piece is causing something to happen--, and to me that is what I seek when viewing art. If one is bored with a show, finds sh'his self yawning while passing amongst the many-- perhaps they are at the wrong show or need rest and are not energy-up enough to grasp the full extent of the work viewed. "This moves me" opens the door to vast intellectual probings --style, historical significance, psychological, technical. The impetus for this gravitation toward learning, toward the light of knowledge, is the poem, the music, the painting or the print; the dance, the sculpture, the drum, the movie, the book, the picture, the print --again the print.
Tomas Belsky - Paintings, Prints, Opinions...
© 1971 - 2001 Tomas Belsky