By Natalie Taylor
One of my favorite things about the agriculture industry is the invitation to be part of it, and that the invitation extends to anyone. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you want to go, or what you want to do — there’s a place for everyone in the agricultural industry.
I’ve discovered that one of those things that has a place in agriculture is art. Art is everywhere. Agriculture is part of everything. Therefore, agriculture is art.
Ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen or crayon or put paint on my fingers, I began falling in love with art. I still love art and everything about it. The history, stories, emotions and messages that art communicates still fascinate me.
I’ve found that my love for agriculture is very similar to my love for art. From discussing crop insurance with my dad to attending FFA conferences, and everything in between, my fascination and love for the agriculture industry has skyrocketed.
When I think of combining a love for ag and art, I think of communicating what we love through art. Grant Wood did just that. He is an artist well-known for his “American Gothic,” the classic painting of the farmer and his wife in front of a farmhouse.
Wood has a unique story that is unknown to many. He grew up on a farm in Iowa. This is where he discovered his love for art and painting at a young age. When he was 10, Wood’s father passed away. He moved to an urban area in Cedar Rapids. His life in the country stayed with him and later became a large influence in his work.
A shining example
Wood continued down the art path to pursue painting and branched out to other styles of art. During the 1920s, He traveled to Europe and visited the museums of France and Italy. When he came back, he realized after being away from his old country home that he had an admiration for Iowa. He said, “I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.”
When Wood was 37, he went on a trip to Germany. While supervising a stained- glass window project, the course of his work changed. This new direction of his art drove him to fame. After seeing the works of 15th and 16th century German and Flemish masters, the realism and attention to detail inspired Wood. Upon his return to the U. S., Wood deserted his earlier impressionistic leanings and began painting with a realistic style where he could convey agriculture and his rural background through his work.
I am infatuated by the way Grant Wood took his ag roots and combined that with his artistic abilities to create not only a beautiful piece of artwork, but also a good message. We might not all be painters, but we can find art in agriculture to share.
Art doesn’t always come in the form of paint. It can be whatever you make it. The ag industry is filled with ways we can paint our own picture metaphorically and make it personal, just as Grant Wood did.
Taylor is the 2017-18 Indiana FFA state reporter.