The Beauty in Every Day: Eyes Wide Open

Graffitti Art

Graffiti Art

Gently swaying to the rhythmic sway of clunky subway trains I wondered, ” We wander every day in the same routines, but fail to ever question the beauty of the day.” Nibbling lightly on my finger nail with my left thumb parting the pages of my nearest addiction, it dawns on me: art, perception, and beauty are not only in the eye of the beholder, but seared on the conscience of both spectator and artist. The end result is an understanding that makes sense of their vision, our experience, and interpretation of what we see — our idea of art.

Right before the “N” train makes its usual decent to 59th St., I’m bombarded by the beauty of graffiti on train cars (not the graffiti displayed in this blog post) that transfixes imaginations of the few who care to notice. Yes, instead of grumbling under my breath about the day ahead, getting too immersed in the latest novel, or chanting calculations, figures and trends before making it to work, I chose to lean closer into the subway doors and look.

I know it may sound cliche, but I’m not lying when I say I was blown away by the mini-stories of artistic ingenuity and expression captured on the sides of these cargo trains. Judging by the time and detail, this wasn’t a quick “tag” on U.S. property, but art that embodied time, color theory, impressive blending and shading, not to mention shapes and colors I didn’t know existed in aerosol cans. Whether it was the clever mixing of pastels or the subtle foundation of earth tones, the end result was riddled with finesse and I was captivated.

Ever since then, I have made it my duty to do one thing: notice the beauty of the day. Now, for those that don’t relate with my acquired taste of graffiti as art and dutiful daily exploration,  know that you never have to “look” for the beauty of the day. For me, it can be the toddler that uses his 3 second attention span to fiddle with the zipper on my knapsack, or the young man hunched over, scribbling away at his homework on the train. All you need to do is open your eyes and know that beauty is every where; it’s up to you, for your own sanity, to recognize it.

So, whenever your favorite newspaper, book, or magazine isn’t quite holding your attention, or you need something else to energize you besides your cup of coffee, look up, then look around. You’d be surprised to see the beauty that you encounter on the train, on the sidewalk, and on your way to work. I had a math teacher that constantly advised, “Work smart, not hard.”

I’ll  simply piggy back on that by saying, “Sometimes, you don’t have to work at all.” Instead, just open your eyes and absorb all that’s around you.

If you want to get an idea of what I mean, take a look at my close friend and mentor, Tieshka Smith’s amazing photoblog: Photography Without Pretense. She’s on to something and I think you’ll agree with me when I say she’s talented, thoughtful, and as refreshing as a cup of iced tea on a summer day.

Remember, if it’s worth your eyes, don’t forget to cc:Keith.

Peace, Books, and Photography,