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Art as a variable concept

March 24, 2014

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Life has taught me many lessons, that there are no absolutes, not to take anything for granted and that perceived wisdom is just a perception and not beyond question. So in order to find your way with a level of conviction, takes great dedication and commitment, and a level of forensic objectivity that can at times be brutal to the ego, as it deconstructs your notions of being bit by bit leaving you exposed as you look for answers. Through my art I’ve felt compelled to look for answers and substantial reasons for making it, reasons that make me feel my life is about an open and honest journey and one in which integrity is at the fore. So that I know I didn’t fool myself into leading a diluted existence to pander and subordinate myself to a questionable system and an erroneous hierarchy. I arrived at this point in thinking,through an inability to make the connections that felt right, both in the reality of my work and in my communications. In short my thoughts and ways of being felt incompatible with the expectations of the art world and I always felt I had to bite my lip because the art world was looking for something neatly packaged that was in fact a compromised statement, a conveniently sanitized creation. This art world didn’t want the art of an open and earnest search, because art tainted by the dirt and honesty of life can disturb the comfort of protected lives, so when I say art is dead I’m not being glib. My challenge is to find my way back to producing meaningful art and the feeling of freedom that I need to make it, by further unravelling myself from this tangled web that is my life. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been wrapped in a shroud and silenced, cocooned from my reality unable to think, speak or  express myself with the freedom I desire and I feel the very real struggle as I overcome these inhibitions in an attempt to liberate myself and my art. I’ve come a long way down this road now and nearly have the strength of my convictions to create and publish anything I see fit as an artistic expression, but I still have some way to go in finding the depth of connection that I’m looking for. This connection depends on many things but above all I need a level of confidence and self-belief that will allow me to work competently with  true conviction, so that in the moment I truly believe in what I’m expressing.

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I’m still finding myself locked in a struggle to find a meaningful way forward with my art. I don’t want to return to producing art made as a product for the rather exclusive art market, instead I want to push forward with art that is accessible for anyone, should they choose to be interested. But I still have no interest from the kind of people I need to help put more public exhibitions together and all the time it feels like the clock is ticking in terms of sustaining my current artistic pursuit. It’s a strange pressure knowing all the time that your way of life is under threat through financial reasons and that following what you feel is your true direction is in constant jeopardy. That jeopardy being the result of societies pressures to normalise our endeavours into a framework of conformity. There is a price to pay in all of this, because the world is denied many possibilities through this linear and confined approach and it is left up to individuals to gnaw away at the status quo in the vain hope for change and a broader acceptance of alternatives. I thing true art is often subversive because it undermines what can be taken for granted and asks endless questions about the meaning of life.

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I’ve come a long way in my thinking about art and reached some interesting and quite alternative conclusions about what I believe art is. These conclusions have blown apart my previous thinking and made me realise that art can be independent in its nature irrespective of historical context and conformity to a quasi intellectual academic approach. What I’m saying is that art does not have to be a reaction to art in an intellectual context, because there is a choice or alternatives in the freedom of expression available. So by ignoring the art world and all the formats one can produce art as an expression of being in ones own time and space. And I say this because of how art has been funded in human civilisation and how the paymasters have influenced art, so when I look back historically I don’t see so much free expression. Instead I see art influenced by cultural values, be it religious or symbolic of the great empires, and in that respect artists are used to carry out a vision to celebrate and extol the virtues of the hierarchy. Whilst this point may seem obscure in some ways, to me it is very important, because when you lead a creative life you know why you make art and what the reasons are, if you are honest with yourself. My dissatisfaction arose from being drawn into a life in which I was never comfortable in, and being seduced by the desires that stroke ones ego. But I always found the rewards lacked the depth of the idealistic approach that I had started out with. Finally I realised that my desire to fall within the confines of a tradition, wanting fame and recognition and wanting people to like and buy my work, had become a distraction, because I was to busy trying to please others to be a true artist.

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My big problem now is where do I go from here and how do I live out my life in art, with integrity, belief and survive materially, a question to which I have absolutely no answers. With regards to the actual art I make, I’m already experiencing some difficulties on a personal level because I have no gauge beyond how I feel inside. It’s like I have no safety net and I just have to trust and believe in my own judgements, because the criterion by which I produce work has no precedent and the objective can only be seen as an open exploration. It’s a fascinating time which is why I’m often up half the night locked in thought about, ways forward in facilitating this approach with some level of practicality.

 

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