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An Essay on Meaninglessness

May 18, 2014


In making art, I constantly look for relevance, because art should have a purpose and a reason that validates its existence. This expectation draws me to conclusions about societies need for art, I wonder what it can teach us and how the meaning of art could influence society in a positive way. Questions like, is art accessible to the whole of society? should art remain firmly in the domain of an elite? should art be aimed at creating a reaction? should art be a vehicle for honesty and insight? should artists continue their enslavement to the ruling classes? should art be meaningful? should artists compromise? why is so much art meaningless? should art be taught in such a prescriptive way? should artists think freely? what is success? what value can art bring to society? is bullshit good for art? do romantic myths serve artists in a positive way? why should art be seen as a business? is it possible to think freely?


My art has awoken something deep inside that makes it difficult for me to produce my art as commodity, I sit producing work but my mind is wandering freely and I can no longer contain my inquisitive mind, so I write and I draw to ease the pressure and make sense of my flow of consciousness. Society has always placed constraints on my psyche and I suppressed my thoughts for too long, because I was obedient and produced work for the markets, yes I compromised. But I always remained a free-thinker and worked with integrity, but I couldn’t resolve the issues that concerned me about art. I needed a deeper understanding and meaning though I didn’t realise that it would go as far as it has and how much of a game changer it would be. I’m still caught in two worlds but I have the energy to deal with both and the hope that they will become one as I move forward.


Now I’m looking at a meaning for art  in modern society, because  beyond the beguiling facade of capitalism that blinds us, there must be more to life. Capitalism is like a poisoned chalice, on a basic level it rapes and exploits the planet to create an endless supply of meaningless stuff. Creating an illusion of freedom in a life without substance that leaves us wanting more untill we’re enveloped in a world of meaninglessness. I’ve lived immersed in this world but through my art it has propelled me into a search for values that feel true and real. I utterly love making awkward work because that is me “awkward” I don’t fit in and I don’t want to because I want to explore the little bit of uniqueness that is me, but not by tailoring it to a market and not by searching for sycophantic praise. So I experiment through my art and I discover much of interest and my own interpretation of art, it’s not a sexy product and I’m not looking to impress anymore because my art is far deeper than a marketing exercise.


Finally I’m aware of a purpose on an individual level after years of being caught up in the tidal wave of accelerated consumerist meaninglessness that is exhausting the worlds resources. The art world has mirrored society and I feel that Damien Hirst stands out as a fine example of  meaningless art for a meaningless society, art without soul, art made for the market, art made to court attention. His success has exposed the art world for what it is and shown that the art world is more concerned about investment than art and that meaningless art can have a greater value than meaningful art. That human beings can devote their whole life to art through utter sincerity for no reward and a life of struggle sums up the brutality of a society that doesn’t give a fuck about the value of values.  I believe the concept of everything having a price has embedded values into the collective consciousness that is undermining human ethics and morality, the result of which is a focus on a false set of principles that diminish the purpose of life to an enslavement  to money. Our obsession with competitive consumerism is weakening the spiritual connectivity within and holding us in a false environment of desire and avarice, we work together but only to fuel our own status and greed. The team work and connectivity is a becoming more of a facade as philosophical dogmas of capitalism drive us apart into a celebration of self. (I can’t even bring myself to discussing the role of  characters like Sattchi and their role in the art world because it would make my blood boil.)


As an artist I’m an outcast and without compromise I’m not even invited to the party, all I can do is observe human behaviour and reflect on it through my work, but my conclusions and thoughts are not convenient and so there is no real place for them. I can’t sell out  now and become a slick product maker because I’ve travelled too far into my search for truth and integrity and I don’t want any of the trappings that money can bring. So here I am living my life as an artist and this is it, as good as it gets for me, it feels real and I can explore whatever I choose, my mind is stretched and my understanding feels much deeper than it did even two years ago. My goals are to see the world and society with a brutal objectivity and understand my humanity to the greatest depths possible to me and in doing so I hope to find the values that make life meaningful. Setting me free to explore and celebrate what should be a beautiful life on a beautiful planet in a life of utter wonder and amazement.


Art has no boundaries and can be a pathway to great personal discovery and a life with a true meaning, without rules you have the opportunity of a unique approach and what you discover and feel is the reality that it offers you. It can be immensely complicated and an incremental process that lasts a life time, as you peel away the layers, I have always believed it is important for some people to follow unique paths because that is what makes a difference to society, but it is not easy. I always tried to live a true life to the notions and intuition that drove me, but I’ve been knocked off course many times and I guess those times made me live in the thick of society and allowed me to understand what are the “perceived norms”. But now I’m back on the trajectory that feels true to every part of my being and where my life and art is an exciting challenge promoting great personal discovery. I want to feel alive and that there is a reason for living beyond posturing for a position within the vacuous rat race to hell. I believe art has a lot to offer the human world, but people have to be open to see it and realise what it can offer, by looking for the authentic value and insight that is there for all to see.


Have a great day 🙂

  1. Linda permalink

    Excellent post Eoghan. You hit the nail on the head so many times. Ego is the worst enemy of truth, it is so damned hungry all the time and absolutely ravenous in it’s need to draw from society some tangible proof of our worth as a human being. We lie to ourselves and others and wear so many masks, all depending on who we are with, that we completely erase what little we truly knew of ourselves.
    Having been awakened from a coma called “conformity” and its constant companion “insecurity”, I always feel refreshed and optimistic after looking at your work and reading your observations. You have also poked and prodded a sleeping dragon within me named “Fuck It!” Bleary eyed and in a dastardly mood, he convinced me to go through my FB contacts and quit following anyone who I nurtured as a political ally during my art days and my horse training days. The crap they post is ridiculous and inane! I ran away from it all years ago. So why the hell am I still acknowledging their shallowness and dishonesty by including their babble in my daily life? It all culminated this afternoon with me phoning a well heeled client and announcing that I would NOT do the commission we discussed. That after much forethought, I have decided I am just not capable of painting anything that elicits comments such as “cute”, “pretty”, “lovely with my couch” etc .,anymore no matter what financial gain is involved and to please find someone else.

    My newfound courage and conviction has not reached far enough yet, for me to tell my sweet hubby what I did. But he knows it was coming.. .

    My deepest admiration and respect, Eoghan. And thank you!


    • You have such great spirit Linda and I always love your comments and insight. It’s so important to feel understood and I know that we must look at life through the same view finder 🙂 I too am struggling with that side of fb and as for commissions!! avoid them if you can lol. Thanks for your warm encouragement 🙂


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