There are at least six or seven painters and a maybe a writer or two on Ob every war season. They petition Galaxy Control and the Patrol Dome Commander for permission to use the mini-domes as studios. Those that apply are usually art traditionalists. These traditionalists are artists who still continue the tradition of creative observation, a tradition that has been outlawed by the Zimmnil established art community. If they get permission they hitch a ride with a patrol supply ship and spend almost the entire season sequestered in these small domes.
The reason these artists come here is because Zimmnil is populated by electro-people with no discernable difference in appearance, and, as the planet is non-organic, with no natural landscape, so these artists come to OB to submerge themselves in the soul stirring beauty of nature. For even though the brain has grown in size and strength and has been transferred into electro-mechanical devices there still resides in the nooks and crannies of some minds a deep seated longing to connect with nature.
For the most part however, artists on Zimmnil have purged or suppressed completely this “back to nature” urge and have looked to money and fame for brain soothing artistic satisfaction. All public and private buildings are now required to buy art. Art is even traded on the Galaxy Art Exchange. As a result art has become a big business on Zimmnil. Art schools have become business schools. Zimmnil artists are considered businessmen first and artists second. It is an accepted truism among young artists that the best businessman is the best artist. The Artist Business Bureau for the Advancement of Art has over a million members. They even have lobbyists at the Center for Galaxy Control to push for inter-Galaxy art standards. They insist that abstract, non-representational art be the “Official” Galaxy art and that it should be the only art traded on the Galaxy art exchange.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a period when there was a flourishing artist community in the Galaxy. It was when the population of Playton was in its high Homo-sapiens stage of development with the average brain size of around 1,600 cm. Artists of that period wandered the planet completely committing their art souls to nature. Planet Playton being a beautiful organic-based planet encouraged and nurtured this “commune with nature” which was deemed so essential for the development of a true artist.
Artists of this period produced some of the most profound and spirit moving landscape paintings in the Galaxy. Visitor from surrounding planets would make the journey to Playton just to view the works of these artists because they were held in such high esteem. For many years it was a duty to make a pilgrimage to Planet Playton to rejuvenate the soul. To meet and talk with an artist from Playton was a rare privilege.
The artists on Playton lived in communes. Their living quarters were austere but adequate. They all shared in the everyday labor of growing food and infrastructure maintenance. They built large temples to display their work. These Art Temples is where many pilgrims came to view the art work. They were Temples for mediating and soul purification and rejuvenation. All were welcome. They were quiet, non assuming temples perfect for the contemplation of art.
However, as the crowds grew so grew the potential for making money. It didn’t take long before unscrupulous money changers saw an opportunity. By manipulating the communication media and using other means which they excelled at, they were able to redefine the meaning of art. They convinced a naïve populous that art was too sophisticated for them to understand. They convinced people that art was very complicated and needed proper analyses before one could truly understand it,- proper analyses that only they and their artist collaborators could provide.
It is not surprising that the masses became confused and no longer trusted their inner soul. With cleaver phrasing and high sounding words the money changers convinced the people that they alone had superior knowledge about what art was or wasn’t . It wasn’t long before they had control over artists and their art. Soon they began to sell what they now defined as art for big profits. Before long young artists no longer wondered the landscape their young minds were seduced by the prospects of fame and riches. The true artists were neglected, temples fell into ruin, pilgrims no longer came, and no one was interested in true art. The people were enticed by the money changers to frequent the new art viewing establishments, elaborate buildings with all sorts of tempting things to buy.
Once they crossed the threshold and walked into these dens of the devil they were taken advantage of in the most egregious fashion. They were told by those within the building that what they were seeing was the best art that artists could produce. They were lead to believe that they were at the forefront of Playton culture when in fact they were being deceived in the name of profit and prestige.
To do this, to take this kind advantage of people who want nothing more than to find solace and peace within their soul, to do this for the purpose of making money, to do this for profit is a very cruel and callus thing to do. It’s a crime against nature itself.
By the time the brain transfers to electro-bodies were complete on Playton, the concept of artist as businessman had taken root and was the well entrenched. When a large portion of the population moved to the new non-organic planet of Zimmnil the business of art flourished. The idea of painting from nature never occurs to the painters on Zimmnil. That’s because nature as a subject never enters the artists mind, - its abstract or nothing.
In spite of this there are still a few artists where nature’s DNA survives. It has managed to tuck away, deep in the wrinkles of the brain, a desire to connect. The descendants of those brains with those small bits of nature loving DNA are in the Zimmnilions artists who request permission to spend war season in the mini-domes.