Believe it or not, I’m just about fed up with the garbage that’s being presented as art and cigars. Give a person a canvas, some paint, and a little exposure, and after that person slaps some combination of pigments on a flat surface and puts in on Facebook or Instagram or Saatchi’s site, immediately he or she becomes – an artist.
Same with an individual who has access to some extra cash, tobacco, a few rollers, a table, a chaveta and he or she instantaneously becomes – a master blender.
Art has never really been defined. Marina Abromović, the most famous performance artist in history, has said during interviews that not one interlocutor has ever asked her, “What is art?” Nor has any master blender ever been able to unequivocally been able to define what a premium cigar is.
So I can take a spray can of paint, just the can, mount it on a marble platform and name it “Spray Can on Marble” and call it a sculpture, or for lack of a better term – art. Or worse, I can take that same can and spritz some of the pigment ON that same marble platform and call it “Destiny.”
I can also purchase some fermented tobacco leaves, have a torcedor bunch it, and roll it, wrap it in whatever leaf is available, have them cut the cap with a chaveta, smooth it out with a quick roll on the table, finish the foot with one swipe of a cutter and place it in front of me and call it a cigar.
Hell, Duchamp did that same process with a porcelain urinal and called it “Fountain,” Jeff Koons had sex with his then-wife and porn star, Cicciolina in his “Made in Heaven” series and call it performance art, and Damien Hirst took a tiger shark, placed it in a glass showcase, filled it with formaldehyde and called it, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” – a masterpiece. Today all three are considered great artists. Debatable.
The fact is art cannot, and may never be adequately defined – even by its creator. The fact is no one can really and truly define what a cigar is really. If you doubt my words, go to any Summertime arts and crafts show and look around and you tell me if you can discern what is or isn’t art – if any. Or visit a cigar convention and you tell me if you can really pick out a true premium cigar. Hell for all practical purposes cigars are identical – save for the graphic work on the band, the size, its shape, or the shade of the wrapper.
I’m a serious and dedicated hobbyist when it comes to art. I’ve studied it, gone to lectures, read a number of books, been to some of the world’s most famous art museums, created pieces of whatever, but I’m certainly not a professional artist despite the knowledge, exposure, and creation.
I’ve smoked enough of what is called a cigar to fill a shipping container. In fact, despite my knowledge that I’ve gathered by going to factories in Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, observing cigars being rolled, tobacco being grown and fermenting and I still don’t have enough behind me to call myself a master blender.
It’s very straightforward. Both creations are subjective. Our senses call them what we think they are because that’s what we’ve been told they are. But the question is, “Are they what they are?” Senses do lie!
So, as a result, we continue to accept what is in front of us as being what others have led us to believe. We cannot define either one with alacrity or accuracy because it is impossible to do so. There is no sensory, factual baseline in subjectivity.
Therefore we will go on living, allowing those who are simply painters to create what is perceived as “art,” and call them artists; and permit those who blend cylindrical tubes of tobacco known as “cigars” to be called master blenders.