Maximalism and the art of the New Year’s Resolution.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about new year’s resolutions. While the beginning of the calendar year seems like a great excuse to embark on something new, or create a new discipline to follow, I’ve often fallen into the trap of feeling burdened by new resolutions. Looking back on previous years’ resolutions, especially the ones that were not fulfilled, it seems like one of the common threads was this idea that I had to add something to my life.

Back in the 1970’s a new style of art was birthed out of a response to the minimalism movement. Maximalism artists started to operate under the axiom of ‘more is more’, trying to jam pack every square inch of canvas, fabric, space with as much visual eye candy as possible. Simple gave way to complex for the sake of complexity. Layers begat layers, and soon a whole movement was born trying to fill up space with as much design as possible. This movement wan’t about filling space with patterns, but micro images that created a macro work that visually overwhelmed the eye.

I feel like many of the new years resolutions I’ve declared in past years have focused on adding something to my life, wether it’s working out, daily study, or spending more time (fill in the blank). This year I decided to mix things up and approach this opportunity of seasonal based change from a different perspective and remove things from life. I don’t have a set list of things to remove, but am focusing more on the principle of ‘does this need to be here’ when it comes to my time, thoughts, and usage of energy.

My inspiration for this approach comes from a Bible study I started a while back, comparing the numerous laws of the Old Testament to the teaching of Jesus. While many of the ancient laws work congruously within the framework of Christ’s teachings, I find that the words of Jesus tend to simplify the intent of the law into a much more meaningful way of life. Instead of focusing on the minutia of the law, focusing on a way of life seems to affect change from within.

So this year in an attempt not to be overwhelmed by laws and systems that govern my time and energy, and tend to create frustration when measured against the calendar, I’m looking to remove the unnecessary things that add complexity to my life. Discarding new goals in exchange for classic principles, finding comfort in the minimal, and avoiding the maximal.

One love, one heart.


Author: djiverson

I am a Christian, son, brother, artist and friend. I am blessed to be the Youth & Family Minister at New Vintage Church in San Diego. Know You Are Loved.

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