Oldies But Goodies

I recently saw a teacher on my Facebook page post that she had her first high schooler today pull out his iPad to take notes on. Now, as I write this, I realize this is something that has happened in college for years- the art of computer note taking... I guess I could even reference when courtrooms started using stenographers to shorthand what has happened throughout a trial... but I must admit I think it hurts my heart just a little. I can't say exactly why. I love technology and it fascinates me to no end, but I guess I will just always be an eternal nostalgic, always romanticizing the good old days of pencil, paper, cassettes... which I know may still sound ridiculous depending on your generation. But it actually crossed my mind- will I live to see the day when pencils in the classroom become obsolete?

Pencil Point Sculpture
This applies to many objects that start to feel like things of the past.

As I turn my nose up at her Nook, my sister and I have debated a few times about the tangible quality and comfort of a paperback. Yes, I realize that digitally my favorite novel may be only $9.99... but then I weigh what I feel like I am paying $24.95 for in the bound copy from Barnes and Noble and it feels priceless to me. When I get lost in a book, when I can look at it and see its age- its use, when I can add to its character by tossing it on the floor without worrying it wont work in the morning, when I can finish it and treasure a connection with the characters inside... all of these things just come so much easier with the warmth of paper than they do with the cold fragility of an e-reader. I hold a book and feel as though I am embracing a friend, whereas I can hold 50 digital books in a computer and feel like its work.

I dont know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes I have these epiphanies that I think about and feel stupid that I hadn't realized sooner (You should hear my revelation concerning coasters, but another time...). But I often think about the lost appreciation for all things analog and before I can manage to get depressed about it, a simple thought hits me. As simple as thinking something like, "I believe I'll get a glass of milk..." I remember, "Pencils will never be obsolete, because there will always be artists..." And as silly and simple as that sounds, it feels very profound to me in the context of so many other innovations disappearing. People often talk to me about film disappearing in lieu of digital photography, and I always take pride in saying that now it has just become more precious as people use it in alternative processes. Not only is paper a must for any artist, but we must have dozens of different kinds of papers, perhaps all for one project. No one would ever presume to suggest that having a book of artwork is the same as having a digital slideshow of masterpieces. Having an object in your hand, from crayon to canvas, to newsprint, to charcoal will always lend itself to be an intimate and worthwhile experience. For the first time in a little while it gives me real pride to be an artist and know these media will never be out of my grasp- out of my frame of reference. I will never not have a use for graphite, ink, paper, process... but isn't it crazy that a lot of people cannot say the same?
Until next time... !