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A splendorous life in Art

April 2, 2014

114An early drawing from 1983

 

I always hated drawing when I was younger, I don’t truly know why beyond the fact I felt stifled by inhibition every time I drew, even feeling a need to apologise for the outcomes. It was a problem that had arisen strongly in my forties, as I’d drawn more confidently in my early career and it came to symbolise my state of mind and my embattled position. My arm would stiffen up and I would have to make do with a gesture that I was never pleased with untill recently when I set about changing all this, so that I could mark down my ideas with a little more gravitas and certainty. This period of my life has been one of opening the doors to what had been a total lock down and come to think of it I never wrote either, now I can’t believe that I allowed myself to become so bound by my lifes circumstances. I’ve written much about the causes of how my wings were clipped and the drip, drip effect of people forcing me into a compromised existence and how the pressures of society drowned out the voice of my weakening spirit. The thing that haunts me, is that you can live what appears to be a normal functioning life using about 10% of your potential and as an artist this allows you to fit into society without rocking any boats. When you loose your rebel spirit as an artist you become void, art is about making a difference and creating a bit of a stir, not a production line of mediocrity and it’s not about balance either. To put yourself out into the mix you can wave goodbye to a balanced life and ride the fucking storm. If there is no good reason for making an art work then don’t make it because there is enough tat in the world produced purely for the sake of being produced. I find that art is born out of struggle, a fight and battle to create something different and this is something that I try never to forget even under the expectations of those who expect you to perform and dance to their tunes. With maturity you realise its down to you alone to walk the walk and that no matter how much you please others it is incumbent upon you to have the balls to live out your own life through the art you see fit. You will disappoint many along the way and perhaps please many too, but in the end you will gain respect, because you shared your vision and showed courage.

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Now things have changed and this questionable period of my life is behind me, I can’t even regret it because it has made me a far greater artist than I ever imagined I could be and works very much like a powerful engine driving me forward with a greater determination than I ever had. I had reached a crisis with two clear options, the first was to limp on into old age feeling sorry for myself, growing bitter or the second was to man up to all the challenges and kick ass and live out the dream. I chose the second option and slowly but surely I started to move forward and find my way, but my God I’ve had to battle my way forward against what felt like an irresistible force and lose a bit of the nice guy image in the process. Though I stick with my rule of being courteous to all those who treat me with respect and for those that tread on my toes I no longer accept it which has been a valuable lesson to me in human behaviour and one that has been very much helped by my weight lifting and general fitness. I guess sometimes in life you have to be a naughty boy and stand up for yourself lol.

2014


So now I’ve moved on with lessons learned and once again I’m focused in the broadest and most lateral way possible to me, as I look to define a life in art with some significant work and ideas. How far I will tread along this path, nobody knows and how relevant my creativity is will remain the subject of subjectivity, because the deeper you delve into a subject, the more you realise that no one has any answers that are more relevant than your own. I believe this applies to a greater extent in the art world where there is great confusion beyond the conspired contrivance of the chosen ones. Through my work I’ve achieved a level of wisdom through a relentless search for a meaning to life and art in which I’ve found myself evolving on an arc that has no end or conclusion. Art through the questioning it requires offers a continual growth, it requires commitment and dedication beyond compare which can lead to greater sense of isolation, because you are in fact dealing with an unknown and unquantifiable set of concepts. You don’t know what you will produce or why or even what you are looking for, because art casts a broad net into unknown territory and you can go as far as you dare into this wilderness. From my own observations in life I have met very few people who have continued deep into the unknown because it’s not easy and involves turning your back on the conventional wisdom of a controlled life and material comfort. Sometimes this makes me struggle with those that feel in a position to judge me because I have sought wisdom and greater understanding of life and art, yet their status in society arms them with a conceit that empowers them in the unholy hierarchy of a crazy system.

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I know that in my own personal realm that my art is beyond my preconceived notions, my equestrian compositions are free and unique and to me a significant evolution in the lineage of equestrian art, they are not trite but truly significant, significant because it has taken me thirty years to unlock these ideas and develop the aesthetic judgement and sensibility that allows great complexity to be reduced into what appears to be a simplistic composition. But my unique approach has hindered my position within the art world hierarchy because it’s just there, a complete and resolved concept and the only figure from the British art world that has ever acknowledged it, is the art critic Brian Sewell who even bought a couple of pieces. Brian Sewell is a man of character who dares to be different, he is greatly flawed as is everyone but his passion for art is inspiring for me.

Equestrian TumblersSome sculptures from the 80’s and 90’s


I feel a need to write more about my equestrian sculpture at the moment so that I can explain the thinking behind it in greater depth, because it’s important to my life and I need to feel that my dedication was worthwhile by standing up for who and what I am. I played a waiting game in the belief that my work would find its niche but my faith in the powers that be proved to be folly, which is why I’m having to change my approach and resort to the written word so that it can be explained. But I also hope that by writing more about the reasons behind my work I will also find new ways forward to express my creativity.

 

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