Superbowl LIV Halftime Show Inspires Deep, Creative Insights
Last night’s Superbowl was a roller coaster ride with a sharp, unfortunate plunge at the end. I am not a football fan (in protest of head injuries and cheerleader salaries), but I know which team was supposed to win last night. They played so well in the first three quarters! Sigh. We are still so proud of you for making it to the Superbowl, 49ers!
For the record, win or lose, Morgan is a 49ers fan.
OK, now let’s talk about the half time show.
I was at a Superbowl party with adults in the living room, teenage boys in the den, and teen girls in the garage. (?) Anyway, the teenage boys unanimously agreed the very sexy halftime show was spectacular, the pinnacle of entertainment. I thought it was pretty awesome too, and I agreed that Shakira’s hips, definitely, did not lie. The consensus among the moms was that they look forward to the day when the women are in the baggy jumpsuits and the men are wearing the bikinis. No matter what your takeaway, the show’s purpose was pure entertainment, and at that, it excelled. I was transfixed.
I have been thinking a lot about attention recently, specifically my attention and how it is commanded and by whom. I just finished reading Jenny Odell’s book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. She illumines the myriad ways the current economy thrives by attracting and maintaining our attention. Every biological, emotional, and cultural drive we have is manipulated by profit-seeking entities to maintain that attention outside ourselves. It’s a bit exhausting, don’t you agree?
On the food side of things, I’m all for donuts, but we all know that foods that actually nourish us come from unprocessed plants. Except that everyone also knows no one, ever, made a killing selling raw kale. Two days ago, I was pretty sure that drinking beer would not make me a kinder person or a better American, but after last night’s multiple (and well done) beer commercials, I am fuzzy on that point. My point here is that what captures our attention begins to define how we think, and consequently how we behave. And our behaviors are being manipulated for someone else’s best interest, not our own.
I’m almost to the part about murals, the only thing I actually know anything about, so bear with me.
Celebrating the City of Half Moon Bay with this commission for their main conference room at City Hall.
Last year Spotify sent me a summary of what I spent my time listening to in 2019. By a large margin, I spent the most time listening to a single artist: East Forest. One of my favorite songs is Deliquesce, which is 37:48 minutes long. It takes guts to write a 38-minute song. It won’t even fit into most people’s commute. It is risky and ambitious. And I love it. You can unfold into it completely. Any hip-shaking would be done very, very slowly.
As an artist, I challenge myself to make art that nourishes and connects instead of just dazzling eye candy. I dream of painting the mural equivalent of that 38-minute long song. Artwork that you don’t get tired of because it draws you in; a mural spacious enough that you want to hang out for a while because it feels safe and nourishing.
Commission for the City of Half Moon Bay “Community Room”.
I paint a lot of different types of murals in a year, but it seems like most of my clients, even the commercial clients, hire me because they want that depth and spaciousness in the artwork. Instead of fast and flashy, competing with billboards for attention, I want to create art that resonates on subtler levels, that supports human-being. Often, it is the simple, low detail murals that end up feeling the most spacious.
Room to breathe for a daughter’s bedroom in this private home in San Francisco, CA.
A soft, feminine reinterpretation of the jungle theme.
My point is NOT to give up donuts or beer or love of Shakira. I will proudly continue to love all three. My point is to suggest that the onslaught of our attention by “money-making efforts” crowds out the deeper experiences available to us when we slow down enough to pay attention to them. The only problem with deep nourishment and satisfaction is they don’t cost much, so they are not hawked to our attention at increasingly high volumes.
I guarantee you do not read my newsletters because of the catchy subject lines. I know they could use more “How to get a flat stomach by eating this one food” flash. My hope is that instead of extracting your attention, I add value to your inbox experience and your day. Perhaps, eventually, the opportunity to add value to a blank wall in your home or community. Either way, thanks for sharing your time and attention with me. Have a great week!
Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.