Wong Chia Chi’s Theme is, I believe, my favorite song. It’s an instrumental but it certainly has a melancholy tone to it. I can’t say that it makes me overwhelmingly sad, but I have a visceral reaction to it each time it plays and sadness is an aspect of that experience.
It can be streamed on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/chi-yin-cheung/wong-chia-chis-theme-2007
At the moment George H. W. Bush and James Franco are sharing that special honor.
No. Unless Netflix and episodes of Battlestar Galactica counts…
One of the most transformative experiences of my life was standing close enough to a Roy Lichtenstein painting to see the hand-made imperfections of his trademark hard edges.
I don’t mean to wax poetic here—it wasn’t an emotional or spiritual transformation, per se—but that experience involved the gradual realization that technical and, I supposed, intellectual perfection (like the perfection of a perfectly straight edge) is both unattainable and unnecessary for artists, or anyone, to attempt and to achieve.
At the time I wasn’t, what I would describe, an artist; I was quite young but I was totally absorbed in the idea of art. So this experience, which began as a superficial observation, increasingly found application in the way I proceeded to receive the world around me and my potential role in it—despite art, but because of art.
In hindsight, realizing that Lichtenstein’s lines weren’t perfect meant that I could try anything without the weight of my unrealistic expectations obstructing my attempt, and, furthermore, that other people might end up really loving what I do despite the insecurities inherent in my ridiculously close perspective.
I don’t mean to imply, by noticing the minuscule deviations of the lines, that I became in any way disillusioned with Lichtenstein and his work; quite the contrary. I came away from that experience understanding that the artistic “giants” who I admire are not, in fact, precision machines and I was doing everyone a disservice by believing as much. Once I realized this, once I realized everyone is in the same boat, at least two things seemed to happen: 1) I gained practically unconditional compassion for everyone else; and 2) I gained compassion for myself.