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The Importance of Art

July 20, 2014

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As I think and draw and make sculpture there is a constant focus simmering underneath that slowly unveils a growing level of consciousness. Sometimes the work is incidental sometimes it’s pivotal, but the important factor is that there is a growing sense of clarity.  A clarity that makes greater sense of my lifes work and demonstrates the continual development that you experience as an artist. I can now look back and see the relevance of the unconventional life that I’ve led and why I always fought to maintain my integrity. The work I did thirty years ago is as important to me today as it was then and its connection to what I’m doing now is vital to my future development. I am this one being, all I’ve done, the decisions I’ve made, my thoughts dreams, aspirations, reactions etc make the whole that is me and it is reflected through my art. Of course being an artist is a struggle if you want to grow from the process, but protecting yourself is also difficult in a society that is intimidated by those that are different, an intimidation that leads to reactive consequences and actions aimed at crushing the free spirits.

 

sculpture on a stick

The term sculptor has become a loosely used term and is used to describe what I believe is often a diluted practitioner of simplistic conceptual notions, notions and gestures that relate to the third dimension through tokenism. But in a society of convenience there is often a dilution in practice because everything is wanted here and now, when the reality and complexity of a developed sculptors mind takes time. I believe that the prevailing trends are subverting the nature of sculpture into an area of style over substance, where subtlety and complexity is being replaced by the theatre of awe, for the “everything is awesome” generation of  simplistic wow factor experiences. Sculpture is complicated and I mean “SCULPTURE”, it requires a complicated three-dimensional understanding that is built up over time. Recent studies demonstrate that the synaptic plasticity of the brain is enhanced through practice and sculpture provides a sterling test. After thirty years of sculpture I’m aware of the functioning of my mind and the intensity of memory that goes into the conception and construction of my work. The understanding of geometry and pattern is the easy part but the acceptance of complex structures and relationships that circumvent perceived wisdom, truly test the plasticity of the mind. There is no order or absolute rule that you can apply to the phenomenon that is our environment, you only have to look at leaves on a forest floor, there is a reason why each leaf is where it is, which provides an order to a perceived chaos. In respecting and observing that natural order or chaos I learn a powerful lesson, because I understand that I don’t need to impose a convenient and controlling understanding. It’s because of my respect for natural phenomenon that I sometimes criticise the criteria by which art is judged and viewed both now and historically. Because I believe art is like a natural wonder beyond the convenience of the simplistic categorization of societies looking to socially engineer the population.

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I feel the truth is that as a population we are denied the breadth of art we deserve because of the controlling interests. The elite subvert the course of art with their financial control and we are forced to accept what we are offered. Now more than ever art is needed to demonstrate different values to humanity, values beyond greed, ownership and control. Values that celebrate the complexity of life and wonder of living, the miracle of creation, art that you can touch and hold and engage and truly feel.

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If art cannot be freely available then we have nothing left to hold on to, art has nothing to do with money and rich people, it is the gift for everyone and a basic human right. It is the spiritual voice and the intellectual voice from the depths of human feeling and it offers an alternative perspective that is vital for a healthy society.
I have dedicated my entire life to art and somehow managed to hold onto my core beliefs, even though I’m ignored by the art world and I can’t get my work out to a wide audience. The consequences are that I live on a very low-income and my life is a genuine struggle, but I will set an example with my life, I believe in who I am and what I do and this is my gesture. I will produce interesting and thought-provoking work that is true to what I believe art should be, because I’m a hopeless optimist.
At least I’m free to write and produce the work that I believe in.

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I feel that being an artist is a privilege in terms of  how it allows you to develop your mind, but it is also a great struggle. There is no means by which success can be judged beyond how you feel inside about your work and these parameters change through time, for there is no constant in an evolving artists mind. It’s dynamic to an extreme with an incredibly lateral possibility that is often quite mind-blowing.

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