The Daily Rambling Artist: I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - Churning Artistic Influences

The Daily Rambling Artist: I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - Churning Artistic Influences

Donald Barthelme's influence on my art is undeniable. I was immediately captivated by his novel "Snow White" during my time as an undergraduate student. The deconstructionist assault on words and sanity that permeated the narrative resonated deeply within me, as if I had discovered a new artistic home.

Prior to encountering Barthelme's work, my understanding of language and storytelling had been shaped by more conventional approaches for the most part. The writings of William Faulkner, however, had already begun to challenge those preconceived notions, preparing me for the unconventional storytelling that Barthelme masterfully employed. He provided the exact creative nourishment I yearned for. One of the most memorable moments in Barthelme's books for me was when the word "butter" was repeated on a page. I loved it.

A friend of mine attended the University of Houston, where Barthelme served as a professor in the Creative Writing department. He shared an enlightening anecdote with me: students would approach Barthelme in the hall, reciting passages from his books and presenting their own interpretations of their meaning. Barthelme would attentively listen and respond with a simple affirmation, regardless of the theory presented, "Yes, that's correct," then move on.

I once had an art teacher who grew frustrated when I would remark, "It's just art." While art holds immense significance in my life, and I hold it dear, I also acknowledge that its ultimate meaning is minuscule in the vast scheme of existence. Ian Mackaye, notable for his involvement in Fugazi and Minor Threat, aptly expressed in a podcast that as artists, we are merely "pushing air around." Although Mackaye referred specifically to music and its meaning, I believe this sentiment extends to all forms of art. This realization does not diminish art's importance; rather, it reminds us not to take it too gravely.


-Sergio Santos

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