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Staying True

April 22, 2014

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I feel destined to be a defiantly singular artist even though it is not always easy and maybe this is in common with many other artists, but right now I feel I’ve nothing to lose and I’ve nothing to gain outside of my own art. When I look at art from my own perspective and recall my own experience I question why artists are cast into the market place and what can possibly be ascertained or validated through this procedure where money dictates the show. It is a system vulnerable to many influences but unfortunately the integrity of art is not always at the top of the list, which makes it an easy target for derision. I was always a stout defender of the art world in general and would explain to doubters the merit of art work no matter how it stretched the boundaries but after thirty years of nothing but making art my experience has altered my opinions which is why I sometimes write down my thoughts.

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Over the course of the last thirty years I’ve been buffeted about to an extreme, I’ve had varying levels of success and I’ve taken many knocks both in my personal and professional life, all of which has left me feeling like a rather complex soul. Surviving as an artist has been my great challenge, whilst hanging on to my hopes and developing a vision unique to my life, a vision that lies in wait for me to realise if I can lift it from its conceptual existence. For two years I’ve developed ideas on paper but now I need time and money to develop these into works of art that I hope will define a vision that I’ve dedicated my life to. But I will have to fight and battle to realise this work as I always have, it won’t be easy so I have to stay strong and determined and believe in myself, something that is quite hard to do when the art world shows no interest what so ever in my work.

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My lifes experience has changed aspects of my personality through necessity, I’ve been forced to defend and hold on to my integrity in the face of  the commercial pressures which are used as leverage by the art world. However there have been times when my spirit has been broken by the relentless pressure and if it wasn’t for those two little words “Fuck Off” I would have struggled even further. Part of my character was that I always stood up to bullies and would try to protect friends who I thought were vulnerable because I feel it is important to live your life being who you are and to follow your dream. But there are times in life when pressures come down to bear from every angle, which can pin you down in moments of weakness and once you’re down it can be hard to pick yourself up.

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The last ten years of my life have been a great struggle on every level, I would say I’ve been fucked off big time and I’m still angry, not only with personal issues and the lack of respect, but I  also feel angry with the pressures put on artists in a society that manage to tame and neutralise most of us. I now feel as an artist a great need for anger and attitude to be able to dig deep enough to find the truths within, as when you know who you are and what you’re doing you can say it like you feel it and salute the establishment in any way you see fit.

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As an artist working in a small studio with a leaking roof, knee-deep in stuff that I have no room to store, with a smell of decay and damp mould I’m always reminded  of a level of  poverty and struggle, a lifestyle that has a romantic appeal to all but those who endure it. From this world I never feel like coming out to play in the twee art world for polite conversation, whilst sipping Champagne and choking on canapes. I can no longer play out this role and pretend this relentless struggle is wonderful, because I’m not a liar. My art is a struggle, my life is a struggle and I only continue as an artist because I believe in art. But I’m losing faith in the society I live in because I feel there is a hostility to  the kind of art and approach to art that I believe in. The market economy sucks in my opinion, yet I’m a prisoner to its doctrinal influence, cast into this world unable to escape its toxicity. There was a time when the antiestablishment approach of artists was celebrated, but now the corporate sector is claiming the industry through its financial muscle, turning art into a more palatable feast.

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Sometimes people tell me that I shoot myself in the foot, by being open, honest and true to myself, I say I blew all my fucking toes off years ago because I don’t want to be compliant and controlled because if I play the game and say what is expected of me and do likewise with my art then I will have been silenced and in that process my work would be consigned into a sphere of pretension and irrelevance. In short I would be producing products that veer towards the notion of decorative and looking to attract sales and recognitions through being led by others. In reality these are subtle areas, but they are truly significant to the outcome of art and by ignoring them I feel that I would be absorbed into an unchallenged life, an acceptance of mediocrity that is beneath the level that I feel capable of.

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As an artist I’m extremely disciplined, I take my art very seriously because it’s important to me, which is why I take the time to write about it, who I am, why I do it and what I want to achieve. Through my work I reflect on life, society and the wider world I live in, because that is what a sincere approach to art solicits from an artist and is probably one of the basic functions. So with this in mind, why should I feel in the slightest bit subversive or controversial in stating what I feel are truths of life and existence. Why should I feel that truth and integrity are being sacrificed through the homogenization of art and society as we see more and more art of convenience in a world governed by corporations with questionable values and motives. It is common knowledge that societies are heading into crisis and as an artist I feel this deeply, it concerns me as it does many other people who I know, so through my social conscience I feel a duty to write and speak out.

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My life is governed through finances and more and more big decisions in the world are governed by finances, politicians have become managers for the wealthy elite as political philosophy is slowly being eroded and erased from western governance. I feel the world is becoming dominated by abstract economic values that are slowly dissociating people from one perception of reality into another that is almost like being cradled in a world of desire, entertainment and compliance. It’s through a perceived empowerment that money gives you choice and a standing in society, a consumerist paradise awaiting the more compliant members of society, who work harder and question less. It’s a simple philosophy and very effective but it comes at a heavy price, because while it appears to empower us it is doing the very opposite and it’s effect on society is quite shocking, young children follow fashions with crazy hair styles and clothes, already exerting peer group pressures at pre school age, heads bowed and lost to the portable screens that dumb us down.  It’s almost like we’re creating a lost generation with the sacrifice of basic human values and all this is through exploitation and the desire for power and wealth at any cost, it’s called capitalism and we’re pretty proud of it in the west. But there is a big price to pay, because there is a meaninglessness to all these films, games, fashions and products that only satisfy a shallow desire. What happened to the contentment of just being an ordinary human with just the awe of life itself to contemplate and enjoy, to not worry about your hair or clothes, when you didn’t judge others by their products, when you spoke from the heart with passion because you knew how you felt and understood yourself a little.

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This life frustrates me because it has a big impact on me as an artist, in fact it makes me a little wild at times as I’m forced to drop out further and further from the mainstream. But out in no mans land I have more freedom to create and follow my own energy, it feels like the only way that I can realise my vision with a level of truth to who I am.

A Few Faves

I try to write here as openly and honestly as I can, sharing my thoughts about life and art because I feel that is the role of art in society, a fresh perspective from the outside. But these are just my singular thoughts and reflections and for anyone reading I hope it offers a little insight to alternative ways of seeing. Each time I write it feels like a little fragment of honesty as I explain my personal battle to hold on to my own integrity, whilst inching forward in a life of unimaginable frustration. My lifes work may be deemed as a failure, but that doesn’t matter because I believe it is so important for people to stand up and express themselves so that life can be enriched  through the exploration of contrary opinions.

CATCH MY FALL

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