Less is a possibility


Second Image for Dan Ariely project completed. Responding to the issues and concepts raised at the forum on inequality I produced an image based on the neologism 'Less is a possibility' which first appeared in Douglas Coupland’s 1996 book ‘Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture’. It is the personal rather than global nature of the issues raised which fascinate me, I wanted to focus on repercussions of our unequal society but also in my practice as an artist/illustrator to reduce visually, referencing Mies Van Der Rohes statement ‘Less is More’. I am endeavoring to create series of personal visual mantras to encourage me and hopefully others who see them to reflect on our insatiable desire for ‘more’.

In the west we are always encouraged to do more, make more and have more, so the logic follows the more we have the happier we are, despite the fact that research has shown that as a society our happiness has not increased in proportion to our wealth. Although it’s easy to romanticise or fetishise rural simplicity when you live a relatively privileged life. I wanted to use the image ‘Less is a Possiblity’ to remind me that a bigger car, a bigger house or that new gadget won’t make me any happier (in fact it’s often the converse) also in striving for these things it often makes others around us unease, envious and upset. Henry David Thoreau (1817- 1862) purported ‘A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone’ I concur with this and was inspired by extracts from his work ‘Walden (or A life in the Woods)’ chronicling two years, two months, and two days he had spent living in a log cabin at Walden Pond. The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of four seasons to symbolize human development. Part memoir, part spiritual quest, it explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.