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And the true value of art is?

April 5, 2014

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I’m in a mood to be slightly controversial for a change because as I wrestle with my art in an attempt to realise my true direction, my thoughts are so frequently disrupted by the noise of a world that seems to want to devalue everything into a one size fits all package. It’s about convenience and the homogenization of everything into products for mass consumption, my problem is that I believe in the sacred nature of art and feel that it should have a significant role in society, so that when I see art bastardised by commerce it fills me with dread and despair. Lets face it, in popular culture all you have to do is sing a bit of karaoke and you are lauded as one of the greatest international artists, in fact anything that can generate mass publicity and revenue to boot will encourage adoration and worship from a society underpinned by the money-making apparatus at the core. The result is that we live in a culturally diluted civilisation governed by economics and embellished with gimmickry and awesome scale but at the root of it all lies weak concepts because they are driven by a search for the superficial endorsements that brings money, which can lead towards  shallowness. What I’m describing is what appears to be a democratisation of society and an open access to culture for all but it doesn’t take into account the complexity or expertise of the true artists who dedicate their lives in the pursuit of profound insight and understanding of life. We are just led to believe that we can google it read a paragraph and we know it all, so whilst our lives are being dumbed down through conceit, we believe we know it all. The ego is celebrated and examples of the capitalist virtues are celebrated and worshipped as examples of what we can all achieve, through the idolatry of  the rich and successful. But from my experience as an artist the reality is that life is dirty and complex, nothing is certain or absolute, we still have no answers to the big questions, yet in capitalism we trust, cocooned from reality in our protected lives like Zombies. The illusion of freedom is overwhelming when faced with the sheer bombardment that is forced upon us through the media and now with smart phones and tablets we are never alone to just be and contemplate our true reality. The weight of this bullshit becomes a burden to our lives and clogs up our imagination and thoughts because we are never still enough to live in the moment, if we want to maintain our life styles then we must be prisoners to this system. In many ways I’ve dropped out and suffer tremendous pressures to survive in daily life, but I feel it’s a sacrifice worth making because I feel more in touch with the essence of my humanity than at any other stage of my adult life and when I delve into the mass media I feel its oppressive influence immediately and the controlling grip that its had on my life and thoughts.

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Art can teach you a lot, it can teach you about freedom and when making it with an open mind, it can reveal who your true identity and how you’ve been shaped into who you are. That is why I write about truth and integrity, because these are the essential ingredients upon which art is based, if you can’t be true with yourself then your art becomes an illusion, a constructed myth that undermines its relevance and deserves to be received with the same contempt. Thirty years of struggle has been a privilege because it has taught me a lot and I like to share my thoughts in a candid way, but it has taken me time to have the courage to write openly because truth has become a victim of polite society. However I will endeavour to be as truthful with my art and words as I can be, because it feels important to me in a time where more and more people feel dissatisfaction and disengaged from the fundamental human values.

 

The following three drawings were done in collaboration with my children, I drew over their ideas with their permission

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