Silent Rhythm 8" x 24" oil on wood panel
How do you ask a famous person a question? I have never read anything by Jonathan Franzen so I'm probably not even allowed to talk to him, but after hearing his Kenyon College address (see last post) I have read a few articles about/ interviews with him online and would now like to send him this letter:
Dear Mr. Famous Author,
I thought your essay on love, published in the New York Times and delivered to the Kenyon College graduating class, was brilliantly insightful, so I started reading stuff about you online. That’s when I ran into a contradiction. Or is it? In this article you admit to writing to please readers but in your recent essay you state:
The striking thing about all consumer products — and none more so than electronic devices and applications — is that they’re designed to be immensely likable. This is, in fact, the definition of a consumer product, in contrast to the product that is simply itself and whose makers aren’t fixated on your liking it. (I’m thinking here of jet engines, laboratory equipment, serious art and literature.)
As an artist I struggle regularly with this question. Do I make likable art or do I try and subtract the human element from the equation in an effort to make something more 'serious'?
Best wishes to the wife and kids,