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The complexity of expression

May 12, 2014

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My art sometimes delivers me to a stark awakening where I question the whole meaning and purpose to life. When I look at a colony of ants I see a purpose and a reason for being, they are caretakers of their territory, they remove dead life forms and food litter, create a domain, and breed. They do this seasonally it fits in to a wider ecology and it has a purpose,  whereby all the ants have an active role in their contribution to the colony. So when I look around and see my fellow human beings, I wonder how the great gift of consciousness impacts upon our lives and what purpose it gives us.  Yes human technology is amazing but if it’s used as a mechanism of control and for the broadcasting inanity, just what is the point in so much innovation. My point is that I just can’t see a meaningful purpose to a life spent chasing after soulless hedonism with scant regard for the wider environmental consequences. After some time in the wilderness (so to speak) without the mass media bombardment my outlook has changed and I see things differently, in a more detached way and I no longer feel blinded by it all. It feels like an extraordinary contradiction but our freedom within a capitalist society is also our prison as we are held in a position where we feel empowered because theoretically we all have this equal opportunity. But it’s really a clever illusion that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny although anecdotally it appears robust. I remember feeling how wonderful society and human achievement was in terms of how the generation of wealth and technology afforded us the time to explore greater depths of humanity on so many levels and through so many subjects. However the reality is quite different as large corporations seize more control through their fiscal controls, the land is poisoned by the agricultural chemicals, the skies are polluted and the worlds minerals are mined and refined at an alarming rate. We collectively destroy everything to create an illusion of the world through technology, it’s like children being driven through beautiful countryside, but instead of looking out the windows, they watch an animation of Shrek on the in-car DVD. Depicting a false notion of reality through banal entertainment that is really quite inconsequential and meaningless beyond its purpose and reason for being. This world is crazy and it impacts upon my work and no matter how bizarre my ideas are at times, they could never be as bizarre as the truth of our own reality.  So I ask myself is there a meaning beyond personal ambition and being entertained in our down time and how can we feel we have a meaning when we are just one of seven billion and really quite powerless.

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As a young person my god was nature and I was in awe of the gift of life and the beauty and potential it offered me, the planet is amazing and the true wonders are free. But now this is no longer enough to satisfy my inquisitive mind and I don’t think it’s entirely down to age. I have learned many lessons and observed much but found it hard to make true and meaningful connections with anything, in part this is due to being quite objective and never having truly fixed beliefs in a life where you can’t take anything for granted. And as my life has progressed I’ve seen more and more people seduced by the desire of consumerism, something which I’ve struggled with on account of  the short-lived nature of populist ideas. The vacuous films, pulp fiction, conceptually weak art, trending fashions, pop music and the mountains of must haves, have built up into an overwhelming weight of meaningless output, that offers nothing beyond temporary pacification.  A population crushed and crazed by an overwhelming onslaught of what can only be described as stuff, suppressing our sensibility and keeping us in some kind of  detached limbo. Well as an artist I want more, I want to understand what a meaningful life could be, I want to be honest with myself and to others, I want meaningful discourse that feels real and earnest, not showing off or being careful with my words. I want to enjoy a timeless feeling of being at one with my life and the world, not caught up in the crazy fashion conscious fad following existence, designed to consume everything so that we can be entertained and look cool. As an artist you get caught up in all this bullshit, you get trapped because your livelihood depends on it, some escape and some don’t, all I know is that it’s messed with my head and I’m finding my own way forward.

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But alas full and frank discussions make up a very small part of my existence and to follow the notions that I feel are profoundly important, means a sacrifice of lifes superficial offerings and a greater level of isolation. But as an artist I will follow my intuition and try to make it into relevant and understandable art, because I need my life to have a meaning and purpose so that I can have a level of satisfaction from being. Life is really so simple in one way, it’s just that society and its protocols get in the way and disrupt our natural ways of being.  It’s about control and compliance but there are many misfits for whom there is no real place, I know a few and I guess I’m a bit of one myself, in my own case it purely comes down to a requirement of truth that the art world doesn’t offer me and I will not accept any pretentiousness with my art. The bottom line is you can’t be taught how to be an artist because creativity is not a formula based activity and original ideas are not born out of following rules, so creativity can often be dependent on freedom and having the courage to go for what you believe in.

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So now I make sculpture I write and I draw and through these three disciplines I feel that I will be able to express all of my thoughts reflections and ideas into some kind of understandable framework that will bring the meaning to my life that I so desperately require for my inner peace. Whether or not other people can relate to my output is beyond my control and so all I can do is offer it up and people are free to engage in any way they see fit. But the truth of an artist is not to be a performing seal, the truth lies in a deeper philosophical expression, a reaction to the stark reality of life that we all face, something that we hold inside that defines our being. Life is uncertain and we exist on an edge whether we like it or not, we can’t take anything for granted and we have to make our own way, reacting in the moment.

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The cult of artist as the big ego and the artist as a slave are all part of the rich history that art has in society. However I feel that art is organic and never static, it doesn’t have one meaning or single purpose, it’s much bigger than the individual, the society or the nation and I only have an opinion because it would be arrogant to assume I had the answers in my own little quest. I do however have the upmost respect for art which is why I concider my integrity as fundamental  to my art and at least I have the confidence to express my opinions now. I didn’t untill recently because  I have at times felt exposed and vulnerable with my free thinking and unconventional approach to life. The insecurities and all that shit that make you want to fit in and feel accepted, but my truth is the art world showed me little respect and I had no choice but to cut loose and gamble my nothingness in the art world for the sincerity of being a true artist in my own eyes.

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