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The search for authenticity

July 26, 2014

464

I realise as an artist that I’ve reached a point in my life that I was desperate to get to, a point where I have the capability and confidence to follow my own path. Creativity without compromise and a deeper understanding of art in society, a vision of how it could be and a perception of how it is. But through my period of analysis it has caused a paradigm shift not only in my understanding but also into how I approach art and the reasons for which I make art. In this sense I have used my work to explore and experiment with possibilities, so that I could reach a level of maturity in my approach and attain a depth of understanding that would validate a life dedicated to sculpture. My work really became a fact-finding mission and a tool to connect all my disparate elements into a cohesive whole, something which I feel I have achieved because there is a greater level of certainty and a more assured approach. But and it’s a big “BUT”, all this soul-searching has only really got me to the next base of my artistic journey and having found what doesn’t motivate my art I really need to find a new goal to work towards and a reason to continue what is essentially a huge struggle. I know the rewards from personal development and producing profound art and are great on a human level and build self-esteem, but you need something more to drive you to dig deeper and produce work that truly stretches ones possibilities.

I think my biggest issue is that I can’t stand the art world and the all the pretentiousness, I don’t like the judgemental attitudes based on assumptions I don’t like how the commercial viability of art is used as leverage to steer artists into conformity. I dislike the art industry, full stop,  it subverts art and artists through a contrivance of  collusion supported by an army of subordinates that in truth know little, yet are willing to wield their power over struggling artists. I understand the struggle that art generates and the great polarities of opinion, provoked from the unquantifiable  and disparate expressions, but it still doesn’t warrant the shady practices. Art prices are manipulated and inflated to create an illusion of value and investment both at auction and through the esteemed collectors. The whole structure of the art world is as corrupt as society in general and is neither meritocratic nor democratic, because it is based on a hierarchy and in the crudest terms is used as a system for investment. The money silences authentic voices because people live in fear of being hung out to dry and even the more successful artists become prisoners to the system, driven by insecurity and fear. I lived in silence in this world for years, I faced all the pressures and I allowed my creativity to be suppressed in the hope that I could make a living and that I would be elevated to a higher status, but it was pure folly and I knew it, but was trapped. I’m still angry with myself for not having the courage and strength to stand up and assert myself and speak out at an earlier age, instead I retreated and observed untill I could bear it no more.  I could write much more about the short comings of the art world but it makes me too angry, however I must reiterate my belief in the whole point of art and its value to society. I strongly feel that Art should not be linked to investment because it manipulates art, artists and viewers to look at art and appreciate it for what I feel are an erroneous set of values. The financial value of a work of art bears no correlation to its artistic value, yet the fiscal value of art affects our relationship or connection to that work. So if I as an artist am aware of the short comings of the art world, should I just try to bite my tongue and feather my nest and allow the status quo to remain unchallenged. To live out a life that is a falsehood and indulge in polite conversations that I have no belief in or should I stand up and voice my opinions and have the courage to spend my life working  honestly with both my eyes open. In one respect I’ve had my day at 51 I realise that I can only achieve so much but if I share my experience and it helps others then I make a contribution.  I became an artist because I believe that art is the most important form of human expression and I feel it demands the ultimate respect from the practitioners and those who choose to make their living from it as agents, but in practice I see very little evidence of this noble approach, as we sail on the tide of  capitalism, the ruler of the waves.

Now my dilemma comes down to a few simple questions, can I repair the damage inflicted on me through my experiences and work once again with the beauty of what I feel life is and can I protect myself  from the knocks and judgements that working in an open and vulnerable way solicit. The answer to these questions is something that I really don’t know, though I just have to accept lifes experience and hope that hope prevails and that I can at least hold on to a spirit of optimism that has always kept me afloat. The extraordinary contradiction of creativity becoming a destructive element in one’s life is a very real part of the equation and there is no doubt that a life in art is a great challenge and struggle. For now I’m slightly lost through what I have found and I don’t know if there is a satisfactory way forward or whether continuing as a sculptor is a truly viable option because my thought processes are being held up by the constraints of  the ridiculous material struggle.

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