I spent 5 hours at the Brooklyn Flea last Saturday with my face buried in racks of clothing from days gone by. Everything around me seemed to have value, seemed to have a story, a previous owner who loved, cherished, protected and valued that thing.
Not only that but everything was beautiful.
Perfect in spite of their seemingly obvious imperfections.
Whoever made these things, whether it was a baseball bat from 1938 or a map of Lemberg from 1886 cared about what they were making. They were creating value and adding to the natural beauty of the world around them. They did this by transforming some piece of that natural world for themselves or to make money for themselves – true artisanship.
Contrast this with the shopping mall I spent an hour in (no purchases made) just before Christmas. Very little aesthetic value (unless you’re in the Apple store and maybe 2-3 clothes stores) anywhere. Brands melded together and there was nothing distinct from one place to the next except for the name out front.
We need to re-imagine the world. Re-imagine the way we make things. Creative class, this means seeking work (as much as possible) that will enhance the world around us and not just become a part of a growing grey mass.
We must rise up and ‘flea’ from all that which is not beautiful, interesting or of value. If we can stop churning out ‘things’ or ads for the sake of doing it, we just might create change and make the world a lot more like the Brooklyn Flea. Trust me, it’s a lovely place.