Happiness. It's a tricky one isn't it. Or is it?
I started to build the mixing desk for my latest print on the basis that once all our basic needs are met, what mix of elements can bring some harmony to our lives.
I'm not saying I could totally be a psychologist, but this is the starting point for Abraham Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs' as well.
Often presented as a pyramid, Maslow's hierarchy is made up 5 levels of human needs, with the theory that the needs of each level can't be met until the previous one has been satisfied. The first level of needs are physiological: air, food, water, shelter, clothing, sex, health. The top of the hierarchy is 'Self Actualisation' – with, according to this article, the peak experience being the experience of happiness.
I've had the concept of this print in the pipeline since before Covid arrived, but I think experiencing the pandemic has helped distil what the initial idea was maybe really about:
Happiness IS a basic need. Even if it's fleeting, during the more challenging periods of our lives.
I think it's fair to say we've all struggled at different times over the last 18 months or so. So when things were getting on top of you, what did you turn to?
Maslow's theory suggests we can't even think about reaching the dizzying heights of happiness if our emotional, social, psychological and financial needs aren't met first. But any snippets of joy you managed to find while in lockdown facing the risk of a deadly virus must prove otherwise.
I think any hierarchy to happiness is a privileged way to view life. Everyone needs joy, whatever their circumstances. You've gotta work with what you've got. Putting it at the top of a pyramid suggests there is a literal mountain to climb to get there. I think we've shown that we are actually hard-wired to find a short cut, because we've had to, in order to not go completely mad. And you know what they say the best medicine is... (although vaccines also very important, please get one).
So although the mixing desk does assume all your physiological needs are met (it would be a kinda boring piece of art otherwise), my mix is much more about how we can all inhabit the world together to make our existence a little less fraught than it can sometimes feel. And it's not always the big stuff. I for one, definitely need snacks on this journey.
OR to be less dramatic, this is essentially my "Live, Love, Laugh" print.
I hope The Mix for a Happy Existence brings you some enjoyment for a few moments of your time on this planet.
It's available here as a limited edition full colour print, or as an open edition in various single colours prints.