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Portrait of an Artist

October 20, 2014

 

tangled repeat

Through circumstance of life I have journeyed with my art to a considerable depth, where my perception of true art has changed dramatically, all of which is relative to my perception of being. As I often say I cannot make any grandiose claims about any universal relevance, because my benchmark is limited to my own experience and I can speak only for one. It has not been an easy process and is the result of  a life long struggle and a deep belief in the integrity of art as a fundamental truth of being. I feel my art from deep within and I try not to impose simplistic narratives for the sake of an affirmation from others. I don’t need to shout about my work or seek any undue attention because I make art as an expression of my reality and truth. I don’t make it to impress others or to inflate my ego, because expanding my horizons is enough to satisfy my soul.

art gangsta

The most difficult lesson that I have learned is about honesty with myself and how to escape the pitfalls of  an art world that encourages vanity and ego. The honesty with myself was forced upon me by a chronic level of dissatisfaction, which tore me apart as I searched for something that I could believe in. There is no doubt in my mind that the pomp and circumstance of the art world is at best superficial and I’m a pretty earthy guy, so we made for rather awkward bed fellows. I needed to know that my art and life had a meaning and purpose beyond commodity in order to continue with the great struggles that I endure as a poverty-stricken artist. The great news is that I have found a purpose, a significant reason to make art because I discovered a value in art that offers a deep fulfillment and a glimpse of the truth of being. With courage I found the confidence to explore many of my ideas and thoughts which in turn led me on a roller coaster journey without limits. A journey beyond the finite parameters imposed on us through society and a way of being that is free, the only limitations were from a self-imposed criteria which reflected my cautious nature. You see this is an incremental journey of discovery, a journey marked out through my art, as I gradually realise who and what I am through my reaction. Of course it’s not just about reaction, but also a recognition of fundamental beliefs and what you can feel in the silence of your own existence. Instinctively I know when I feel something is right and when I was trying to please others I realised that this was not my truth and that I didn’t need to seek this kind of attention anymore. So turning the corner to produce work to satisfy me, instead of others involved a huge step because I had to realise that art is not about praise and flattery. This is still a difficult area for me, but if I don’t maintain this path I will fall back into the trap of diluting my intent through an inherent human weakness. Proper art is hard-core and there is no room for compromise, you say it like it is and that is the end of it, that is your statement, so you make sure you believe in it and you stand firmly behind it. No bullshit, no lies, no pretence, know who you are and why you make it and in that way you earn respect as a genuine contributor and a true artist.

artiste1

This has been a hard lesson for me and at times very harrowing, because I had to extricate myself from so many complex webs that were smothering and suffocating my creativity. I’m a soft natured empathic human being which I see as my gift but when that soft nature was exploited as a perceived weakness, I had no defence untill through crisis I had no choice but to come out fighting. I had to learn to say no and to ignore the troubles brought down to bear and then I had to learn to believe in myself again so that I could resume my  journey of truth. My journey became awkward and messy as I stumbled around in the darkness that was upon me, but I had nowhere to turn and my only salvation could come from within. To stand up and find my beliefs again and learn to be proud of who I am and what I have to offer as an artist, if I don’t feel I’m worthy then I must work untill I earn a sense of pride. If my art is to define me as a man then I must raise the level and I will walk as tall as that takes me. But I will never knowingly make sub-standard work or dress my work with falsehood, even though this will cause me hardship. That’s a bullshit free zone for my art and though I wish my art had been recognised, it no longer matters because I’m doing all I can and my belief in myself is stronger than ever. As an artist all I can do is produce work that I believe in and notoriety can go to those who seek it. I’m independent and free to make what I please and say what I please, I have nothing to win and I have nothing to lose, only art to express my journey.

NO MORE SHIT

Funnily now I’m at the other side of this issue I no longer see myself as a sculptor, because I no longer identify with what I perceive contemporary sculpture to be and particularly with the current dilution of public sculpture that is a symptom of general contemporary trends. Trends which to a trained eye show sculpture driven by concept through an inadequate understanding of composition, form  and volume, exuding a dereliction of artistry. If you have an idea and get someone else to make it or a machine to mill it out then you will get a diluted end product lacking the raw passion that is art. There was a time when I would be polite about such wasted opportunities, but the slow dumbing down and phenomenon of art of convenience strikes a raw nerve. All style and no substance is the way to get ahead these days which is why I’ve turned my back on this world. It may appear clever in the short-term but ill-conceived art will always be just that, art that is soul deep and made with absolute belief and commitment will always shine through. Here again money talks, as greed consumes art, and those artists working away quietly who believe in the integrity of art are abandoned to the margins.I would like to see art used for public sculpture and not purpose-built concepts manufactured without the affection and love of what art could be. It saddens me in some ways because I no longer respect the art world due to this clash of values though my discontent has set me free. Free as an artist with a sophisticated ability to express myself through a hard-earned knowledge of artistry. Even though I have great limitations, I no longer feel silenced or concerned about my opinions and hopefully in time as my work flows freely I will be able to ignore the environment in which I was made to struggle with my art. There’s a lot to be said for having your own little autonomus world.

darkness

For nearly thirty years I’ve fought hard to develop a complex understanding of composition, form and volume in my attempt to create sophisticated art of substance and yet it wasn’t recognised within the art world, though it is with ordinary people, which has been a blessing. At least I’ve managed to exhibit my work all over the world and taken part in hundreds of exhibitions as a mysterious sculptor. Although a few years ago I felt that all this work had been in vain untill I recovered my belief in art and the value of each and every contributor. For a while I shared all my work openly on the internet in the hope that it would inspire others and that my compositional prowess would not be lost to the world. I guess it met a few favourable responses and it was finally out there, with a level of value in its presence and it felt like a mutual exchange. However all my attempts to expose my work to a wider public have met with a reality that has grounded me and is holding me firmly in a realistic place. I’ve overcome my deeply troubling time and I can fly once again and as for any ambition, well that lies solely in the art I create and if it goes really well then I can look forward to satisfaction in obscurity.

Rocking the gothic spider look

My cage was rattled, I responded and now I must work to reach my summit.

❤ ❤ ❤

2 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    haha…I sooo can relate to that rattling cage metaphore….as mine is seriously rattling right now… I feel like dog coming out pond to shake himself hard..
    as an artist and person , a lot have to go… good feeling to get there and be brave enough to take the appropriate step to feel free!!

    Like

  2. oops….that was me Fab talking above 😉

    Like

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