This online exhibition of artists over 70 hit me like a shot of rainbow lightning. I thought, Wow. Wow. So that’s what people are up to in their 70s and 80s. And hey, just look at them!
Sure, we knew that at least some of us old people are a privileged bunch. Not because we’re smart but because of timing and luck and demography and advances in medicine. Those of us with sufficient resources —a roof over our head, basic supplies—are inventing our own sort of old age.
As a bunch, we look different in our 70s and 80s from the way our grandparents did. And I’m not talking about cosmetic surgery.
There’s another Wow! on every page of this exhibition. So, thought I, So making art, splashing paint on canvas or wrangling toasters to create something new and beautiful or crazy or at least original must be good for us old people. Being actively productive and “creative” (the word makes me uneasy but sometimes you just gotta use it) must be a healthy, happy thing to do. Must add a zing and a zest to life in old age.
Well, no surprise, really. But go visit this exhibition before the end of February and think your own thoughts, feel your own Wow. You want what they’ve got? Then pick up a pen or a pencil and get ready for that buzz. What have you got to lose?
Oh look! I’m one of them!
To my surprise I found myself, me me me, in Room One of this exhibition—and remembered that I’d agreed to this. The Art > 70 exhibition is curated by my extraordinary friend Dale Copeland and I guess she just sees my poems as my sort of art. OK, my portrait is a selfie (you can see the clicker in my right hand) and the background drawing is mine too. I’ll show you other drawings of mine that are in the book, below. They are modest, frivolous, amateur: but they bring me joy.
But then, another Wow! On the same page is the celebrated professional artist Michael Smither, who was once my husband for about seven and a half (don’t forget the half) years. This is a little known fact in New Zealand of no significance in the grand scheme of things but there you go. Ours was his shortest marriage, for good reason: I’m a hopeless wife. He’s still painting solidly at 81.
Messages of Artists over 70 for me are all smiles
- We don’t look like our grandparents.
- Nowadays some of us have the time and health to go flat out in whatever creative mode we choose, and we do choose.
- Producing artistic stuff in your 70s and 80s appears to be heaps of fun.