Stories at The Getty

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Saturday afternoon I went to The Getty. I spent three and a half hours wandering around the grounds by myself, just letting myself think and take in all of the art they had to offer. While wandering I realized a few things that I will try to explain now before the fleeting thoughts leave me.

The first thing I learned was that I love the sound of fountains, specifically multiple fountains at once or the equivalent to multiple fountains, a waterfall. One fountain has a very specific and serene sound. It’s something about the same small amount of water falling simultaneously over and over again. But when you throw multiple fountains in the mix, you get a chaotic sound. You get a sound that can never totally be in sync because all of the fountains are going off at different times, at different heights and with different amounts. I like the sound of chaotic water. To me, it’s more soothing than one fountain for some reason. I think it’s because the chaotic sound blocks everything else out. The sound is so strong that you can’t hear anything but your own thoughts. I had a little place at Chapman, a little nook that was enclosed and had a running waterfall. I found myself there many times to cry, to think or to lay on the bed of rocks that sat next to the fountain. This little place at the Getty with multiple fountains reminded me of my spot and brought a sense of calm over me.

The second thing I realized was that everyone has a story. It doesn’t matter who you are or how mundane you think your life may be, everyone has a story to tell. In an art museum as big as The Getty, there are thousands of canvas’, photographs, sculptures and pieces of art that all have different stories. Even if one artist has many different works, each piece has a different back story. There could be two pieces by the same artist that have the same person or item as the object, but different emotions or stories inspired each one.

After doing one round of all of the wings at The Getty, I sat and people watched in the gardens for a while. I started wondering what everyone’s story was, what brought them to The Getty that afternoon. Were they on a family trip? Was it a couple’s first date? A couple’s seventeenth date? A wedding anniversary? Or just a trip out of the house on a Saturday afternoon? Stories upon stories upon stories.

I went to The Getty to stare at pieces of other people’s stories in order to try to figure out what my own is going to be. What are my next steps in the upcoming few years? What I walked away with was the simple fact of, I am who I am. The artists who painted these beautiful canvas’ put their heart on the line when they painted them. They painted these works from the deepest parts of their hearts and put them out there for other people to judge openly and without reigns. Some pieces were painted hundreds of years ago and here we are today, still judging them, analyzing them, taking them in.  You may think they are shit, you may think they are brilliant, but regardless of what you think, they are part of a story – someone else’s story. We may never know the entirety of the story, but because that artist was brave enough to express his or her inner emotions through a different medium, we have a sneak peek into what exactly their story is or was. And isn’t it better to have part of your story told than to be completely silent?

So that’s what I learned this weekend, don’t be silent. Share.

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