There’s a scene in the Terry Gilliam movie Jabberwocky where an old barrel maker is trying to teach his young apprentice the craft of barrel making. Despite his attempts at efficiency the sloppy nature of the boy’s work becomes evident the old barrel maker becomes enraged and rants about the loss of craft.
I feel the rage of the old barrel maker. I work with materials produced in China almost every day.
It’s a funny thing that as the concept of craftsmanship becomes an almost culturally obsolete idea more and more people become enthralled by the idea of art. Nothing against art, I’m a big fan. I’ve done one or two artistic things in my time. But has making art always been a cultural obsession, as it is with many younger people today?
I used to be a part of a young artists group. Every month the group would meet and I would hear things from many of the individuals in it about their desire to make art. To their credit art was an activity that about 20% of attendants engaged in, angst was an activity engaged in by 100% of them.
No matter how hardworking or creative you may be, it’s hard to get an apprenticeship at your local barrel maker these days. Kind of make sense that if people have mind numbing and boring jobs their natural inclination to create will manifest itself in ways that have nothing to do with their day job answering telephones.
Both plastic barrels and hipsters who talk too much about art are products of the industrial revolution.
Ironic isn’t it?