The Gift of Freedom to Create

Lennon Wall PragueToday is Independence Day, and although the USA isn’t perfect, I am grateful to be an American. It is easy to take our liberty for granted, such as our freedom to create as artists, writers and musicians. 

Recently, my daughter spent a college semester studying art and literature abroad in the beautiful Czech Republic. She was stunned to learn about the terrible repression that country had to endure throughout history.

Even the people’s rights to create, and think freely were restrained. Under the Nazi regime, artists, writers and musicians were monitored, and sometimes forbidden to produce their art completely. Modern styles of art were prohibited, and deemed Degenerate Art, a term adopted by the Nazis. Those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions, dismissed from teaching positions, and forbidden to exhibit or sell their art.

Later, the Nazi tyranny was replaced with proxy Soviet control of Czechoslovakia, and once again artists were regulated. Socialist Realism, sometimes called Communist Art, demanded that all writers and artists must depict the Soviet Society and the party’s goals in a positive way in order for the society to accept them. Under the Soviet law, an artist must be granted approval in order to produce his or her art. This continued until 1980.

While visiting the town of Olomouc, Czech Republic, my daughter met a ceramic potter who shared his personal story of being an artist during the days of Soviet Socialist Realism.

Petr Prochazka, aka Petr the Potter, was denied permission to be an artist. Nevertheless, he continued his craft in secrecy. Unable to buy clay or glazes, Petr humbly harvested his own clay from the riverbanks, developed his own glazes from crushed pigments, and made his own primitive kiln.

petr the potter czech tea set

Petr’s perseverance paid off, and today he enjoys the freedom of owning his own studio and gallery. Petr’s story is just one of many. However, today the arts are flourishing within the Czech Republic. Painters, sculptors, writers, poets, musicians, architects, and filmmakers now take pleasure in the freedom to create.

While in Prague, my daughter and her college companions met novelist, playwright Ivan Klima.

Ivan Klima

After which, the students had the unique opportunity to work with the famous Czech graffiti street artist, One Point.

one point graffiti artist

Lead by One Point, and with the city’s permission, the students designed and painted the exterior of a building in Prague. The building also happened to be One Point’s very own personal studio – what an experience.

one point graffiti girls painting

graffiti artist and students

One Point 'pointing' directions to his students

Back at home here in Sun Valley, Idaho, our little sleepy resort town comes alive on the 4th of July…and with the All-American festivities, I will not take my freedom for granted.

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” ~William J. Clinton

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You might also enjoy:

Do You Have the Heart of An Artist?

You Are In Charge of Your Art Career

The Importance of Being an Artist in Today’s Modern World

Amazing History Facts You Never Learned in School!

*Meet me on Twitterand on Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too LoriMcNee.com, or find me on Instagram lorimcneeartist. ~Lori

About Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Ambassador Artist to Royal Talens. As the owner of FineArtTips.com, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses.

Comments

  1. So true, Independence Day is a good time to be thankful for all of our freedoms!
    It’s hard to believe people were once forbidden to make art anywhere; how interesting your daughter’s trip must have been.
    Tiffany

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