“When we perceive the world around us, with the state of our own existence as a foundation, not only do we experience the whole situation with our senses, but we also tend to let our emotional states sway us in this perception. We see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, and through these things we tend to feel out our situation. Maybe it’s our memories; our own personal histories of love, anger, or sorrow. Maybe it’s the recollection of hearing about the pain and happiness of others. Whether it’s our own experiences, or the experiences of others, it seems that whatever sticks to our bones gives us a certain conditioning that has us walk, crawl, glide, or fly through this world in our unique ways. Maybe this is where personal taste comes from. Where someone might experience something considered holy, while another may simply discard it.

Not only do the arts need to be appealing to the senses, but they also need to play the strings of our hearts and minds; to shock us, to make us cry, to smile, to remind us of our humanity. There is no one way to do this. No style or material has a monopoly on this effectiveness. As time goes on, and our experiences develop us, our tastes change, and what we enjoy now isn’t necessarily what we had enjoyed years before. But, love can still lighten our hearts, and anger can still burn. Seemingly, emotions don’t define us as humans, but most of us can’t seem to get away from how we feel about things.

Of course I’m biased for the arts. All evidence supports it. I believe a great work of art cannot only appeal to us, but can remind us, stirring up what it is to be ourselves and what it is to be ourselves with all the rest of it. This great work can then allow us to look forward with just a little more clarity and assertiveness.”

-Grant Czuj

A visual artist and published poet, Grant Czuj lives and works out of the metro Detroit area. A man on an endeavor to create what may be thought of as beautiful, ugly, shocking, and nonsensical. The content of his work tends to push the lines of what everyday life is. His figures are dramatic, colorful, solemn, stretched and squeezed, the way most tend to feel in their dealings with life itself. It is a unique vision and a gift to witness.