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The rise of Indie-Art

May 8, 2014

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Sometimes I look for the sanctity of balance in my life and work, only to find it’s an unachievable goal that doesn’t exist. Instead the constantly evolving circumstances of life dictate a more reactive approach to art in order to satisfy the need for a relevant expression. I feel the sense of urgency  triggered by the speed of communication and the effects of the consumerist ethos by which our lives are governed. We now devour imagery with an insatiable appetite, a quick hit and on to the next one, something that you feel deeply as an artist and you feel the race for ideas that somehow draws you in unwittingly.

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These are interesting times to work because the changes facilitated through the improved communications are creating new environments for art, pathways must be formed and ideas set out to bring about the much-needed changes that the art world requires. I feel that artists must claim ownership of art and take responsibility so that art can flourish in a more open and honest way. Artists need an authentic voice that is not market led, so that their work is accessible, challenging and true. I know I’m not alone in my thinking about these matters and I see it almost like a duty to write about the serious points that arise through my artistic endeavours. I could continue to produce market led art and be fairly successful but I need more from a life in art, such as the feeling of freedom and relevance beyond the production of investable commodities. I need to feel able to take risks and explore my human potential so that I know I did all I could as an artist. I don’t want fill the world with an endless supply of sculptures but I will attempt to offer a few interesting ideas of a genuine nature.

357I feel with contemporary life that there is an opportunity to pursue art in a more independent way (if you can take the financial hit),  though that art may become quite disparate, held together by common threads, reflective of the patterns that form the almost invisible connections that bind all we know. This is where ones faith is tested out, because creativity forces one to believe in something unknown.  But its relevance is possibly dependent on a non conformist and anti establishment ethos. Because being a minion in the theatre of institutions requires a level of subordination that intimidates and seduces artists into a state of conformity. Independent art may never have  a broad appeal although it may have greater authenticity and in that case be of more value on a human level, even though for an artist its hard to endure poverty and live without the dreams bequeathed through an  indoctrination of our consciousness, those of  fame fortune and notoriety.

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As I’ve drawn and contemplated ideas over the past couple of days, I’ve become aware of the political nature of art again, not so much how it is used politically but how politics influence society and art. It is almost impossible to isolate art and so you measure the ingredients to form an expression and as I was working my thoughts veered on to how I feel the current political situation is influencing our lives. The corporations (the driving force) dominate our market led economy and the politicians try to manage our economy within the wider global economy. But I’m not aware of any clear political philosophy entering the arena and the management of budgets only clouds any potential vision. It feels like politics is becoming irrelevant to the masses because it is ineffectual and led through dogmatic fiscal decision-making that pays little regard to the environment and human needs. How anyone can believe that the governance of the world should be put in the hands of the greedy profit-making corporations is beyond my comprehension and just so short-sighted. The accelerating global exploitation is carried out with scant regard for the legacy of environmental destruction, pollution and littered landscapes laid to waste and for what. To destroy the beauty of the world for facile vanity with the mass production of utter garbage, soulless creations adorned with meaninglessness. So this frustrates me a little, because I don’t see or feel any substantial values emanating from the top, just the dumbing down of everything into sound bite friendly morsels.

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I had a vision once that life could be meaningful and a deep experience, that through art, creativity and thought there could be a great purpose to my life and that living life with sincerity was noble and just look where it got me.  I do still believe that soulful satisfaction comes from acquiring wisdom and exploring consciousness, seeking an understanding from the depths of  humanity  beyond the vanity of ego. But in the global race  with the cult of me-ism, everyone competes in the free for all, grabbing all they can. But what happens to the quiet members of society looking for soulful satisfaction and a decent life with minimal disruption. I can tell you what happens, they get pushed aside in the rush of the vacuum filling winner takes all heroes, those that rise to the top at any cost, bragging about their achievements. This is not a world where ethics or morality are rewarded because unless you can make a profit out of them they are an irrelevant inconvenience that may serve as a minor point of amusement.

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So why is all this relevant to the life of an artist? well because it has a tremendous impact on the life of creative people, a vocation that should be rooted in a profound philosophical search and not a search for money. But the art world is inextricably linked to this system which is why there is a growing “Indy-Art” movement in which individuals cut loose and follow their own beliefs. It’s slightly anarchic and reflects a growing movement of  activists who seek to make changes in the world despite the reluctance or leadership of governments. Although it’s hard to bring about change, people power is growing through the lobbying of authority, petitioning and direct action, people with a social conscience and respect for the planet who are no longer willing to accept the consequences of  mindless consumerism.

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I am an artist.

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