One night, when I was about eight-years-old, I was sitting in the basement of my family home watching a film with my father. Although the title of the film will forever escape me, I know it was an MGM production. How? My father pressed pause as MGM’s logo came roaring, quite literally, up onto the screen.
“Do you know what Ars Gratia Artis means?” he asked me in the dark of the basement. I responded as any eight-year-old would: “No. What does it mean?” He pushed in his recliner and walked to the wall behind us, turning the overhead lights on with just the flick of a finger.
“It means art for art’s sake.” Now, I was a rather knowledgeable elementary schooler, but I was very obviously not on the same page as my father. After sensing my confusion, he pointed to the Latin saying on the MGM logo. “That means making art just because you want to make it. You don’t have to have a reason to make something meaningful.”
As I face the reality that graduation is quickly approaching, I have taken time to not only reflect on my time at the University of Virginia, but also the moments that have gotten me to this point. When my roommate (i.e. the star of the piece below), asked me what the “theme” of the video was, I simply stared, not quite understanding her question. “You know, what’s the message you’re trying to get across with the video?”
My answer was simple. There was none. Ars gratia artis.