Behind the Art: Onward and Outward

September 29, 2019

Does anyone remember when "Onward and Upward" was a popular phrase to write on wooden signs, etc? I could never find the source of those words when I created this art print several years ago, and when I write something out I like to credit it to someone (unless I've made it up myself), but I did find a poem by Walt Whitman called Song of Myself, 6 [A child said, What is the grass?], that had the phrase "onward and outward" in it (you can find it right at the end of the poem). 

The full quotation from which I plucked the words says "All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,/And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier." I was pulled to that a lot more than whatever inspired "Onward and Upward" because while the concept of "upward" might mean you are reaching for great heights, "outward" means so much more. You're growing, expanding, exploring! The universe grows outward, not upward.

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