Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Fairy Tales and Fantasy for Artists - Cute Sweaters

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Christmas Sweaters. Love and Cuteness. The Voice of the Voiceless. 

by Ty Hulse


When many people wish to express love or affection, they turn to something cute such as teddy bears given as gifts on Valentine’s Day. Another example are Christmas sweaters historically knitted by an aunt or Grandmother. The first Christmas sweaters weren’t ironic or ugly, they were artistic expressions by people who had spent much of their life with a limited ability to express themselves. Handmade cute sweaters reflect a desire to care for others. They are knitted by loving hands, often as a present. In this they reflect both the desire to love and to be loved and on some deep level we realize this, this is why people wear them when the maker comes to visit, because they are demonstrating this affection or at least comforting the creator with a forced display of affection. 

Rather than trying to understand the aesthetic or emotions behind these works of art, however, society derided the creators, regulating them to kitsch to later be used as the butt of jokes. It is common for people to deride and belittle cute art without ever trying to fully understand its function in people’s life. This is the danger of creating cute art, that it will be not only misunderstood but wrongfully derided. 

It is rather amusing to read art Critics who support an industry of artists selling art for thousands or even millions of dollars, deriding the happiness that a teenager or elderly person can get from giving five dollars for something to place on their shelf or hang on their wall. Kisch, in essence, means that many people with little money are able to take joy in it – while ‘high art’ means something that only a single wealthy person owns and few well ever enjoy. I imagine the wealthy art collectors take joy in their million dollar painting, while kicked back in a leather chair while sipping on cognac that costs more than an average person’s yearly wages. I don’t have a problem with this, joy is joy, after all. Still, why would we ever seek to take that opportunity away from the teen sitting on their bed, with a cookie they shouldn’t be eating there, staring silently at the affordable art around their room as they contemplate their life and future? Or the elderly person, rested in a mechanical chair, pondering the world that they’ve been a part of while absently staring at the knickknacks they’ve chosen to represent themselves.