Questioning the functionality of the Visual, Written and Classic Arts has become an epidemic, via the advent of the portable web and iphone. Who has time to paint when filters and image reconstruction apps exist? Why carry heavy books around–with the inventions of Audible, Kindle and Utube--only to strain the eyes? Who attends plays, operas or symphonies anymore, when the theater abounds on Instagram– nestled firmly in thy back pocket?
The inaugural Portraits for Purpose charity auction held at the Bowery Hotel pre-Thanksgiving week raised over $200,000 for various charities. An iteration of Art’s true magnitude, Tyler Loftis’ collection of oil on canvas portraiture features celebrity figures with deep-set ties to New York; albeit Supermodel Alina Baikova, French painter Francoise Gilot, Mohammed Ali, fashion designers Zac Posen, Rubin Singer and Kenneth Cole, guru Deepak Chopra, Swiss drummer Jojo Mayer, figurative artist Alex Katz, , and world-renowned chef Alex Guarnaschelli–each chose his or her own charity by which to raise money for homelessness, pet protection, youth development, medical research, art education…
The event’s “purpose” is two-fold notes Tyler Loftis: “Raise appreciation for modern art often overlooked” and “to allow for each of the sitters to choose his or her own charity”.
“For me it was an organic and simple way for me to give back to a lot of people at one time. It was also a way to make art accessible to the public.”
Having lived in Italy, Loftis longs to imbue the European appreciation for the higher arts: “Art in galleries in museums and galleries elicits separation, while Art should be integrated into our everyday lives; it can be a very healing thing…Art is a whole lane and experience, and projects like this is a very simple way for me to get it out there.” To Tyler, Americans have lost all sense of ‘sensuality’, and rely too heavily on commercialism and pop culture.
“We have such a self consciousness here with the European way of dressing nice and eating nice that art can serve as a sort of ambassador.”
How exactly can we bridge this cataclysmic rift between us Americans and the classic arts? Well- let us begin by elevating the purpose for creating art in the first place: Art with a larger Purpose. Let us want to own a mesmerizing keepsake of willfully injecting money into meaningful charitable purposes. Allow us to write not for the sake of writing, but to endue and bestow knowledge—change—and revolution. Music may have steer east of opera and the piano, while film supersedes theater, but the heart of these fractal cores transcend the aesthetic when pointing to and benefiting charitable causes.
Tyler’s stylish and energetic father Steve Loftis also notices the far-reaching potential of painting: “I’m just so pleased that my son picked a universal language for his career and that is art. It brings a local and larger social psyche together and connects people both young and old… it’s a language that has no barrier and to which all people can relate. That’s been Tyler’s mission of his, and I’m very proud of him.”
Photos by Lucas Hoeffel photography