Art has always had a major role to play in shaping the travel industry. Art lovers and artists have long used their love to spot art in various parts of the world or allowed their passion for creativity to shape the way the world can be viewed. This article shares the view of travelers who use art to inspire travel.
Art has long been culpable in engendering wanderlust! A fascinating piece of art is enough to teleport you to a place that you had been completely unaware of! It is deliriously disruptive in that. Who hasn’t wanted to sip on some coffee at the café in Vincent Van Gogh’s “Café Terrace”? The kaleidoscopic mess of a painting transports you to that fabled land with each stroke of the brush. The effect that art has on a travelling soul coexists with the impact that travel has on that of an artist. Therefore, the distinctive lines between the two concepts become intermingled.
What is art if not an expression of the artist himself? An artist scoops out his feelings from the well of conscious and subconscious miscellanies and communicates them through the art he creates! But this well is bound to dry up if it doesn’t get replenished periodically with new perspectives. Travel is the path to gaining the perspective that most people keep seeking throughout their lives, little knowing that it comes only from exposure to an eclectic mix of influences that life on the road can bring forth. As the American writer Henry Miller says,
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
This obviously raises the question- do you travel to create art or do you create art to travel? Kay and James Hahn are quite certain that they are the latter. For them, it is ‘an ongoing lifestyle’. Kay says,
People see our art online, or read our posts or references, we get invited to be hosted all over the world. People sometimes want art to be created, and sometimes they just want to host you to reward you for enriching their life in ways they cannot do on their own. Our friends are sometimes clients, but always our clients become our supportive friends
Her husband James R. Hahn was the original muralist for one of the longest-running doll franchises in the USA- the Cabbage Patch Kids. Kay herself is an artist who works on leather sculptures and murals. They bonded over their mutual love of art and ‘unusual’ music, got married and have ever since worked as ‘one’, be it as artists or as travellers. They have travelled across the globe, reviving old properties such as chateaus, schools, theatres.
We want our art to make a difference.
says Kay. This dynamic couple is also behind the famous Live Painting Exhibition stage show where James creates a unique piece of work on the canvas in an hour and meanwhile Kay, the keynote and motivational speaker, inspires the audience with her rendition of different aspects of art.
For Kay and James, however, travelling does not just entail going on a quest for new sights and sounds, it also translates into moving in search of the geography where people give them the appreciation they deserve. In Kay’s words,
Go where you are celebrated not where you are merely tolerated!.
Such things will not just kill your career but will also spell a slow death for your soul.
Speaking of souls, Billy’s thrives purely on his love for art! He himself is an artist- a dancer specialising in street art and hip hop, a photographer dabbling in graphic design- who likes to immerse himself in art and history. He traverses the world in pursuit of both. He works on Arts Council funded projects and is also a travel blogger who is partially hearing-impaired. He has never let his impairment come in the way of his travels even though he keeps on encountering hiccups every now and then. In fact, he has found his identity as a deaf man and makes no qualms about it.
I used to see deafness as an inconvenience. Then I met the community in itself. Now I’m proud of who I am; we have rights and don’t need to apologize for being deaf if our actions are misunderstood.
In spite of minor challenges, communication has never been an issue with him, probably why he is so attracted to art that facilitates communication on a holistic level. An artist conveys his feelings, intuitions, thoughts and dreams through his work, and admirers of art get to step out of their poky worlds to understand and appreciate other people and their ethos. That is about the only stimulation that people like Billy need to embark on artistic adventures. No wonder he is so fond of museums; the Antonio Blanco Museum in Bali, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Louvre in Paris, the Tate Modern in London are a few of the museums where his travels have taken him and in turn, facilitated his own art.
Since time immemorial travel has enabled art to carve out history! Today, travellers like James, Kay and Billy are crisscrossing the world in search of inspirational narratives and taking them forward through their own aspirational works. As the American author Pat Conroy said,
Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.