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The artists duty

August 25, 2014

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I believe it is the collective duty of artists to explore the meaningful, and now more than ever sound reasoning is required to offer a meaningful way out of the futile entrenchment of suspect ideologies that are engulfing our lives. In a world consumed by consumption almost nothing is sacred from being consumed and exploited by the insatiable appetite of  consumerism. Which is why I feel the word or concept “compromise” should be seen for what it is and art should restore its rightful place at the centre of community and become a catalyst for the formation of meaningful communities. It comes down to artful purpose, the making of art as a legitimate community based enterprise with the potential of enriching lives through engagement. Engagement because it is relevant to our lives and reality, relevant because it connects us to a deep and meaningful force of life and nature.

Crazy as it may seem this simplistic outlook is fundamentally different to the elitist hierarchy that has consumed art and the way we see it. The hijacking of art by the establishment elite and subsequent control undermines the very credibility of art. It is almost impossible to challenge the status quo as an individual because one has no voice, yet it is the duty of an artist to communicate to society and offer a means for the enrichment of lifes experience, to offer a window into a different world and a different way of seeing. However a controlling society corrupts the purity of the creative process and with great insensitivity subvert the art into diluted convenience.

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In my opinion there is no true correlation between art and money and yet this relationship defines our view of art, it is erroneous to an extreme and even though so many people are aware of this we just accept it and take our place as silent minions overwhelmed by the huge apparatus of  the state. The weight of misguided academia and the power of monied  institutions and corporations neutralise our curiosity and suppress our determination to seek change. Oh yes I know my place in this world but I cannot accept it and be a paid up member of a society with such limited options. But I have to survive and I only just manage this, because I walk a tight rope, constantly in danger of the many perils, from losing my integrity to the possibility of financial meltdown. Partly through choice my existence is marginalised and because of this I have a sense of freedom, I’ve nothing to gain or lose from society, but a lot to gain from my own personal development and whilst I happily share all my thoughts and ideas,they go largely ignored, but I feel happy to cast out my gestures as a fulfilment of my duty as an artist.

All my life I’ve been aware of the controlling dogmatic conditioning forced upon me in my life and always I’ve struggled to remain free, in what from the outside may appear like a meaningless struggle, but I can tell you it isn’t. As an artist to continually accept the brow beating to conform and compromise erodes the meaning of art and compromised art borders on a worthless contribution to humanity, it may sell for millions and be the proud possession of a rich banker, but it can be read for what it is by a genuine soul. Because there are options  when it comes to value, from the pure vulgarity of money,desire and ownership, to the deep connections and resonance of human experience on the broadest levels of consciousness. In an ideal world one could say that there is a way of combining these values but in my own experience I don’t think its possible because of the temptations which can corrupt intent and influence direction. Here the big ego in art is the enemy as pride takes over and the insecurities of failure subvert creativity towards a search for popularity and acknowledgment through external validation, because I feel the true answer lies within on the profound matters of creativity. Whilst this may sound like a bit of an arrogant assumption, I must qualify it by saying that in my personal creative experience, I found my true inspiration through a deeper personal connection that I feel transcended my previous intellect based conceptual approach.

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Being an artist is complicated to put it mildly and strength of character is so important in finding your true path, right now I feel that art is not about reflecting society, but shining a light into other areas of  existence in a search for alternative direction. My feelings about humanity is that the purpose beyond the I is becoming harder to find and that the current direction of detached consumption has accelerated out of control, into a life of living with diminished purpose and reason. But there are viable alternatives to life in which people can assume greater responsibility for the realisation and purpose of their own lives. The hope of the teenager as they catapult into the world is how I see the legitimate approach to life, optimism and energy and a world to change as they inherit the earth with their developing ideologies. And it is hope that I cling on to through all my experiences and the optimism that from any situation there is always an outcome to enhance lifes great journey of experience.

I believe at the core of an artist there should be ideals and intent so that there is purpose, a reason for making art that goes beyond a need to show or share it with another. I guess what I’m trying to say is that a true artist would just as happily live alone on a desert Island and spend a life locked into creativity, exploring their worldly experience. And this has always been my dilemma, you see art means everything to me and the experience transcends my societal obligations, yet society makes unreasonable demands on me and my creativity, which is why I have to fight to defend my integrity in the face of constant erosion. Sometimes it takes me to the edge where all feels lost, then I fight back and briefly touch enough freedom to give me the power and strength to continue and survive for a while longer.

I just love writing openly about life as I see it, not being concerned about pretty and saying it like I feel it in the raw, because life is real and gritty if you want to get something substantial from it. With my art I’m also feeling this liberation as I play with ideas and move towards a more direct form of expression through drawing and sculpture, my art is a moveable feast and I feel privileged to have this opportunity and reason for living. I write so much draw a lot and make many sculptures, I post them on the wonderful web but I seldom get any reactions or comments no matter how provocative I am, so hello to the great abyss. 🙂

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