If you're an avid follower of our Twitter you will have read a few quotes today from great American Leaders on the nature of patriotism, national identity, and arts... We've invoked the thoughts and referenced the writing of great Americans George Washington, John Quincy Adams...and, of course... Bruce Lee.
These thoughts, these thinkers, are all highly inspirational and relevant to the mission of JustArt. George Washington is easy and obvious...and, frankly, probably the least revolutionary thought of these three...but it is the 4th of July and you've gotta bring up a founding father if you want to be taken seriously. But George brings up the important point that you've got to be educated in the Arts and Sciences, you've got to have modes of expression if you're going to be a lover of not just your country, but of mankind.
The words of John Quincy Adams are also important, but not unheard of. It is a central tenet of the American Dream that every generation surpass the reach of the previous. Obviously our migrant workers dream of their children having an education and becoming engaged in commerce...and those people dream of their children studying...porcelain. But too often that is the realm of the artist, that weird dreamer and expert in tapestry and porcelain. The idea that arts are the end of utility, artists are the lovers of the fragile, the decorative...the artist class create frippery because their parents worked because their parents fought...this is dangerously reductive ground.
But then...Bruce Lee... Born in San Francisco, raised in the British crown colony of Hong Kong, became an official US Citizen at 18, but held a multi-national identity throughout his life. Bruce Lee was an embodiment of everything that Washington and Adams were talking about...Bruce Lee was a well known patriot committed to the range of his personal identity. He was Chinese, he was from Hong Kong, he was American. He was an absolute lover of his country, of his countries...but he was also a philosopher who developed a system of thought and action aimed at the betterment of every individual. He was very much a lover of mankind.
Bruce Lee also embodied all three elements of John Q. Adams' thought process. Bruce Lee was a literal warrior and figurative politician. He was well versed in the intricate politics of British colonialism, Chinese nationalism, and American exceptionalism... and these awarenesses were steeped in his abilities and excellence as a martial artist. As a fighter. But he was also a filmmaker, actor, and artist. But he was no porcelain-ist. No tapestr-ist. His art WAS the fight, literally and figuratively.
He knew all to well that art transcended embellishment, decoration, and could be the path to liberty. It was, for him, a path to personal liberty, internal fulfillment, and the security of a legacy and future for his family. SO
On this 4th of July, as we celebrate freedom and independence, let's remember these three men, and their thoughts on the subjects of Art and Justice. Let's remember that Art is a vital technique for the acquiring of liberty is art (Bruce Lee). Art is enabled by advocacy, education, and perseverance (John Q. Adams)...and Art is, of course, essential to the prosperity of the State (George Washington).
Happy 4th of July everyone!