Art is...
"Every child is an artist, with imagination and the artistic instinct. Life stamps these out—and in only a few cases, those we call geniuses, do they rise, and become sculptors, artists, poets—great creators. If you have a little theater or a civic theater in Indianapolis you will find them here." - Percy Mackaye, 1915
The five:

  1. Women spend more than men to get around New York City💰. Yet further proof we need more women at the urban design table ('glad my partner keeps pushing me to care about cities and get involved). Also, speaking of safety, mental health matters a lot to me, and this piece on how to save people from suicide is a must-read. On a somewhat related note, here’s what great listeners do, and here’s how to listen to people, according to master interviewer Terry Gross💰.  
  2. News flash: You’re the world’s worst boss, according to Seth Godin, and your ego is probably to blame💰. So, given that, here’s how you can retire early (and keep your dream job from derailing your career), and here’s how you can be a systems thinker, and here’s how to change your personality
  3. Where my content role model, Khe, breaks down the economics of making content and why making it is so hard. Speaking of making money, here’s how companies get you to pay more for the same product, and here’s how to buy stuff cheaper (buy it under another name)
  4. You’ll want to avoid these behaviors in any group setting, and if your employees aren’t speaking up, blame your company culture💰. 
  5. If you want to beat fake news, don’t be lazy 💰(seriously, fact-checking is hard, people). This is how your brain keeps you believing garbage that isn’t true. And this better note be fake news: old age is a myth and boredom isn’t so bad

Bonus: Here’s how to help the victims of the California wild fires. Please give what you can. I’ve been insanely fortunate, and have only had to walk around with a mask for a few minutes each day. But there are people who have lost everything — and those who have lost loved ones. California is having a really rough time of it.  

💰 = Paywall, though please do consider paying to read what people write. Writers like to eat too. (Apologies if I miss one…) 
How to talk about art 🎨
I have a confession to make. Museums make me nervous. They don’t make me running-for-the-hills scared; they just make me a little nervous.  

They make me nervous because I fear I’ll say something stupid or walk away having missed something significant about a work. Is it Baroque? Is it neoclassical? Am I looking at an oil painting, and is there some significance to the artist’s choice of plaster as opposed to clay? Wait, why did they put Calder next to Buckminster Fuller? Wait, do they expect me to read all of that write-up? Wait, why didn't they write more about this? I have no idea what's going on. 

Where's the cafeteria?

Art can be really intimidating to the uninitiated, and I have spent years looking from the sidelines, nervous that I might say something stupid in a land where I would like nothing more than to be considered smart. Because, the fact is, I love visual art. I love a good set of lines, and I find circles calming. A nice pen gives me joy. I love the smell of oil on canvas, and I like how water colors bleed together. I love abstract videos that drown out my anxious thoughts.

But I never knew how to talk about it until I met my friend Ian. He’s an artist’s artist. He runs an art gallery in his apartment and makes videos that stop me in my tracks. He makes synth videos that do the same thing to my brain as meditation. 

I recently had a conversation with Ian about art, and I, in a roundabout way, confessed I had no idea how to talk about art and felt a bit like an moron whenever I tried. He looked me in the eyes, grinned, leaned in, and, in one sentence (which I will paraphrase heavily), taught me how to talk about art: 

"Say whatever you feels true to you to say, and feel free to change your mind."

So, if you think something’s really cool, say so. If it makes you feel like that time you went out for ice cream with your Dad, great. If it makes you feel uneasy, that’s fine. If it doesn’t make you feel anything at all, that’s cool. It may have a totally different effect on someone else, and that’s okay too. Maybe one day it makes you feel like you can run the world, and the next day it makes you feel like you want to crawl under the blankets and hide from the world. It doesn’t matter.  

The key to talking about art well is authenticity. Art is just an invitation to speak your truth.  

That simple lesson changed museums for me forever. Now, I’m excited about the idea of going to the MOMA, and I look forward to talking to people about art. It’s an opportunity to drop into myself, to test my ability to be authentic with others and to listen to their authentic voice.  

Art just isn't that big of a deal, the truth is brings out of you is, though. That’s probably why Banksy put his art through a shredder at Sotheby’s. I thought that was pretty darn rad and it made me snort-laugh. What did you think? 
Thank you a million times...
Thank you so much to my long-time donor Natalya Pemberton! Natalya is a culture and design enthusiast learning Sustainable Systems at the innovative Presidio Graduate School.

She has generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about how you can support this newsletter too.
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...whatever you say it is.
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · Palo Alto California 94306 · USA
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