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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

the dharma path, bohemia, and Brit art schools

following is my response to an email interview:

Hi Sandra,
I'm pleased my answers will be of help for your feature article  :  )

Now I'll do my best to answer your questions about cities losing their 'creative pockets' through gentrification. As I believe I already said, it was ever thus, all over the planet. Creative pockets of artists, bohemians - the current trendy word may be 'outliers' - gather together through a combination of necessity & mutual interests. Think Paris and Hemingway, Eliot, Joyce et al. Think Bloomsbury in London, or Greenwich Village in New York. My personal examples are Coconut Grove in Miami and Yorkville in Toronto.

I discussed this phenomenon with several friends after writing my initial responses. Sometimes I call this 'gathering' of like-minded spirits the dharma path - perhaps not the dharma path of traditional Buddhism, but more the Westernized dharma path of Jack Kerouac and his Dharma Bums. Those on this path of seeking through experience and artistic expression will always find each other & group together. Sometimes this will be in a specific locale, such as Eel Pie Island or the above mentioned literary enclaves. Sometimes the dharma path is more convoluted & winding, & the path becomes literally a path  :  )

I believe the establishing of dozens of arts colleges in the UK post WW2 was an interesting & incredibly unorthodox experiment in helping young people express their creativity. The Beatles, Clapton - a whole generation of British musicians - came out of this art school experience. And then they came to play to each other at venues like the Eel Pie Island Ballroom. I often wish the powers-that-be, the establishment, would have more wisdom in funding ventures like this. The arts are the most important facet of every culture, and even the most hardcore capitalists have come to realize this - in their pocketbooks, if not their hearts!

Bohemia - the dharma path - whatever we wish to name it - always needs to move on, and perhaps this moving about, this nervous energy & restlessness, is a key part of the creative process itself!

Chris Faiers

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Piccadilly circus
Cupid's fountain spraying

Bay wind blowing
Coconut Grove sailboats
tinkling rigging

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