Outside the Lines: Opening our Minds

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I am an art freak.

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By that I mean several things: In my free time I am clicking through slideshows of often-misunderstood contemporary art. I own about three mugs that simultaneously display my love for both art humor and kitsch. I will stand in the middle of a crowded exhibition hall and get lost in a Rothko or a Pollock for at least 20 minutes.

I cannot get enough, which is probably why most of my Instagram photos are tagged with #artfreak. But I digress.

Now that you understand how much of an art junkie I am, let me introduce myself. My name is Mackenzie. I am a senior studying journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of State Press Magazine.

I am also an art history minor, living up to the aphorism of those who can’t do, teach (or blog, in this case). While talking with fellow peers who aren’t turned off by my overwhelming love for art is nice, I still find myself yearning to discuss the creative world further. Some of my favorite pieces I wrote for SPM covered student artists at ASU.

With Outside the Lines, I aim to take this a bit further and go a bit deeper.

Defining art is hard – what makes art, art and who says so? (See the film Mona Lisa Smile for reference.) Art can be anything and everything. A carefully constructed landscape displayed upon a museum’s white wall is art. A totem made on the Northwest coast of Canada is art. The tattoo I got last week is art. A child’s finger painting is art. While most of what we study in art history classes is fine art from distinguished artists, they weren’t always this way.

At one point, someone thought Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock were creating garbage.

This brings me to an important disclaimer: You probably won’t think a lot of what we talk about on this blog is art. Please, keep an open mind. Don’t worry if you don’t understand something or if you don’t agree with something. While I may not agree with the purity practices of this community, the photos do tell a haunting story and it fascinates me that an artist can convey so much emotion with a few photos. We can find art in every place and from every type of person.

Therefore, I will be covering local artists and local art shows of all sorts. There will be exhibition reviews, interviews with artists and coverage of news in the art world. We will talk about everything from traditional painting and sculpture to street murals and yarn-bombing. Feel free to sound off on what you think about the art covered here — start a conversation.

One of my favorite quotes states: “The Earth without art is just eh.” I cannot imagine a world without paintings and music and creative expression that results after nights, months or even years of emotional tribulation. So why should we try to stuff such a large and important expressive outlet into a neat little box?

Take this blog as your chance. It is the chance for you to break out of your comfort zone and color (or, think) outside the lines.

Welcome, and I hope you enjoy.

Reach the writer at mamccrea@asu.edu or via Twitter @mmccreary6.