How a tanker truck on the California Interstate taught me the value of abstract art.
If you haven’t heard of contemporary artist Cy Twombly, it doesn’t matter. He’s best known for his masterful childlike scribbles in pencil or crayon. For decades, his work has fetched millions, and he’s still going strong.
If you do know Cy Twombly’s work, and you don’t think he’s a genius—you might just need to spend a little more time on the freeway. Okay, the California intestate may not be the venue for your “aha moment”—but it was for me.
A little back-story:
When I first saw Twombly’s work in Santa Monica in 1989, I had a degree in Fine Art, and absolutely no connection to, appreciation for, or understanding of art in the abstract. I was simply confused, and didn’t understand the painting, or the genre.
Fifteen years later—tooling up the 101 Freeway–probably late for something–a loud, dirty, old, scarred up white oil-dripping tanker truck passed me in the left lane. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I panicked, and thought–this truly is my once-in-a-lifetime “artistic epiphany.”
A veritable Cy Twombly masterpiece was teasing me from the fast lane.
The side of the tanker was coated with scratchy black marks—just like Cy’s. It was a beautiful, rhythmical pattern of happy little sketches—but on a friggin’ 18-wheeler. I guess it was there for everybody to see–real abstract art–flying by at 65 mph. But somehow the moment chose me. Instantly—my brain got the message; the connection was made. I got it–loud and clear: once you open your mind to art—it’s everywhere.
So I grabbed my point-and-shoot camera and chased the truck up the road—one hand on the wheel, the other desperately stretching over the dashboard, smack up to the windshield, then out the window–to nail the shot I needed. While I’m not proud of my driving habits, I am most appreciative of this magical moment sent my way.
I couldn’t wait to get home and compare my “raw art” with Twombly’s blue-chip work. The photos seen here represent my moment of wonder and awe—that will last a lifetime. Now I get to share this experience and the photos with my corporate clients. Bottom line—when you shift your thought—you’ll see art in everything.
And if you’re open—art will find you.
My passion for abstract art can now be described as rabid. I discover it in junkyards, old barns, construction sites, recycle bins, spice racks, and rusty tools. It’s the reason I feel sheer joy when I spot a killer image—in traffic, or in trash.