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From Troy to Thales and Today

'Masquerade' 100 x 200 diptych by Tanja Meski

June 11th 2019

Pausing to reflect

The past few weeks I’ve been on a painting frenzy. Simply because it’s been after a longer pause than usual. Even if painting for me is an urge to express, it normally surges only after a few days of not painting. There is always a balance of first getting inspired and after comes the need to let all the emotions out. Once the bank is full of these emotional deposits, the expression flows. Inspirations welling through reading, writing and experiencing something new, meeting interesting personas or simply thinking in solitude, are all filling the bank.

Pausing, reflecting and building up the excitement inevitably has lead to a bigger satisfaction. Thus the temporary suspension has been a good reminder how fulfilling the life of an artist is. Frustrations never build up to extremes as there is the ultimate channel to cope with all information- or emotion overload. And now, since it’s been 3 months since I’ve painted the last time, undoubtedly the bank is bursting.

Influences and motives on latest works

This latest collection of works is increasing now but at a slower- or normal pace. The first works are only in need of some varnish and finalizing of the sides, signing...

Without explaining each work, I’ll share the voyage of thoughts from the past 6-7 months. Basically I can see the theme of extremes continuing, as it is what intrigues me the most - the stark contrasts in life, death and rebirth as we know it.

As we humans are the masters of altering our reality to suit our greedy nature, there is never a shortage of topics to burst out on canvas, however subconsciously or consciously we artists choose them to appear. I’ve taken the approach to try to practice a level of healthy cynicism on contrary to some beliefs that seem to have hope that we humans can change our ways and somehow miraculously become better or more ’humane’: end waring, torture and step out of the dark side of our many questionable activities.

The famous artist of many fields Mr. David Lynch appeared to have recently stated that "Real peace is not just the absence of war, it’s the absence of all negativity.” That lead me to think, was there still hope in his statement? If so, where is this reality and when does this utopia take place? My opinion is that not before a meteor, the size of the same as that of 66 million years ago, visits this planet. Cynicism at it’s peak or not, that’s the way I perceive our options to be.

I’ve also given a lot of thought to especially some prominent philosophers' ideas and findings as early as that of Thales, around 600 bce. He was the first to question whether all natural phenomena such as thunder has nothing to do with gods being angry but actually exist as a result of physics and natural occurrences. He also introduced the revolutionary idea that we all came from water and that most of our planet is actually water. Definitely he got some rolling eyes on his back at the time but that didn’t slow him down from being a genius in many fields including mathematics, astrology and business. To prove that philosophers can actually monetize their brain powers, he managed to calculate the upcoming outstanding olive harvest and bought all nearby refineries, leaving him a rich man. However, his goal was not to get rich per se (as he already cherished the substance in himself as his purpose of life) but to show what a finely tuned philosophical approach can bring to the table.

'Thales' Oceans' mixed media on canvas 150x150 by Tanja Meski

Superficiality, especially as appearing in these days, seems to justify the means from which many draw their self validation from. It’s a struggle in today’s world, to feel adequate as we naturally are on the inside. Instead there’s the ongoing pressure to show a life we don’t have, the face we don’t have and the things we don’t own. Things and thoughts begin with the same syllable, but the former lacks the substance we should be drawn towards. Masking useless products as necessities many companies are inflating the demand and while the common people are running in herds after items to fill the void of their low self-esteem, the process of self destruction is accelerated. Masquerade definition as in :


a party, dance or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises and often elegant, historical or fantastic costumes.

a costume or disguise worn at such gathering.

false outward show; facade, pretense: a hypocrite’s masquerade of virtue.

activity, existence etc. under false pretenses: a rich man’s masquerade as a beggar.

verb (used without object) masqueraded, masquerading

to go about under false pretenses or a false character; assume the character of; give oneself out to be:

to masquerade as a former Russian count.

to disguise oneself.

'The Judgement of Paris' mixed media 120x195 by Tanja Meski

Another interesting take on how human nature perceives the superficial opportunities given and taking them to extremes, were the Trojan Wars. If we choose to take a closer look at this myth (which referring to several later researchers, might not be a myth after all) and to the impulse that led to the long period of waring between the Greeks and the Trojan city, we can find similarities to the present. According to the legend, on a quest to steal the most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, from another man, Paris the Prince of Troy left behind a trail of destruction and years of superficial waring. Just like today, we go conquering natural resources of other countries while leaving the most innocent to suffer. Even if some countries pretend to be just by-standers, they’re deliberately shutting their eyes from the reality and silently accepting international companies to grope profits to themselves. While there’s nothing wrong in being sharp-minded and gaining from business opportunities, it is unethical to bribe leaders who do not share the wealth with the people of the lands. Again, the children are the ones to suffer the most. And here we have the never ending cycle of evil that has no end. History keeps on repeating itself, whether it’s the times of the past or present, makes no difference.

I still consider myself as an optimist, since there’s so much beauty and goodness on this planet to draw positivity into the works for contrast. Contrast for me is key to understanding phenomena from polarized perspectives. The balance becomes more possible as one extremity uplifts the other. Inspiration after all can spring from the outside or the inside, the reins prevail within.


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