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The heART of the Matter

Have you ever heard the saying "earth without art is just "eh""? It's kinda what is happening at present. For many people, life is pretty "eh" right now. And I honestly believe that some of that is due to the fact that we have placed art on the peripheries, deeming that it is something that is not crucial to our survival. But is that really the case?

Sure, when we are worried about money, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over our heads, we are less inclined to think about about things like art. And I totally get it. There are times when we have to be very careful about where our money goes and make sure we are taking care of our big priorities before other things. But, as I've mentioned before, austerity measures initiated by governments almost always involve the reduction of cultural and artistic contributions to society. The general attitude is that we can survive without art. By contrast, we rarely apply the same yardstick to sporting events. But, no one would actually die if for example the NRL grand final didn't take place. Just as no one will die if you don't buy that painting that moved you to tears. We can survive without either sport or art. But can we live without them?

Earth without art is actually "eh". Austerity measures mean that the "unessentials" like art get squeezed to the peripheries of life. And, as I've also said before, it is important to remember that the Creative Industries is actually an industry. It employs people. Some people, myself included, depend on the existence of art to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.

So what can you do in these times of collective "eh" to contribute to a more livable society? Well, you can buy handmade. Whenever you need a gift or to get some retail therapy, seek out a local artist or artisan. You'd be surprised what you can find with the magic of a Google search. And many many artists have online stores or are part of an online collective of one kind or another. You don't have to pay thousands - there will be something to suit your budget if you look for it. Maybe get a print of an artwork if you can't afford the original. Avoid the mass-produced, cheap and generic stuff you can buy from a department or chain store. Just like the decision to be as "green" as you can, I urge you to choose handmade when it comes to home decor, gifts and even utilitarian items. The little buzz of pleasure you get as a result will make your life much less "eh". And, it will contribute to the economy!

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