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Defining Art

November 16, 2014


653Today I’ve been drawing, framing a couple of prints that I sold and thinking a bit too, which has left me feeling quite positive this evening. Positive because I feel on the right track, capable of realising and understanding the essence of why I’m drawn to making art. Following my life long assertion, and mission to make art without compromise in an attempt to explore the fundamental truth of who I am through art. The problem is that I’m distracted and subverted through my interactions and dialogue, through the civil engagement of being, because I, like everyone else, have to face the distractions from a busy world. So busy with images and bite sized chunks of wisdom that I could feel like I’m forever drowning in stuff and too unimportant to add my little contribution as I’m overwhelmed by the tidal wave of apparent certainty. This is just a part of our reality, the testing ground in which we have to survive or perish as a creative force, a world of countless distractions which we must deal with, before prioritizing our own personal direction.


From the chaos I nearly understand why I make art, in the first place it brings a focus to the extraordinary reality which I often take for granted. A reality of being a living entity on a huge ball hurtling through infinity with lots of other balls, not knowing why I’m here and why the other seven billion planetary cohabitees  are virtually all strangers, disparate yet so similar in yet another wonderful contradiction. I mean how can I ever really know another person when I don’t really know myself and why do I feel so strongly about certain things. The sheer essence of life itself is utterly mind-blowing and we each have to decide for ourselves what it means, how to use it and how willing we are to try to understand it. The problem is that the simple act of existence is so incredible that we have to distract our attention through various means so that we don’t blow our minds and get lost.


There are times when I stop in my tracks and question everything, the beauty of the world, the ugliness of ignorance and violence and I question the circumstances of my life and the compromised existence that suffocates my feelings of freedom. Why there is disparity between my actuality and my intent and whether or not I can ever connect the two, or is that an unreasonable expectation. You see there is a great feeling of discord within me, which I try to bridge and yet I know that this very feeling stimulates my response through art. The problem is that it is not easy to be content with feelings of discontent and yet I fear contentment paves the road to a more complacent state of being. Yes life is a curious conundrum in which my instinct points towards a broad swathe of enlightenment as my goal for being. That through my art I will find a meaning and a deeper understanding of humanity through developing my inherent potential


Now back to my developing definition of art and where I’m currently at. I must start with an assumption that we are all capable of expressing ourselves through art and that through art we can tap into our fundamental essence of being to further understand our mystery. And it is here that art performs an important function by informing the viewer about alternative ways of seeing and offering an alternative perception/perspective for consideration. So with a function for art within society, what should I make as an artist and what should I hope to gain from making it. I have to say it’s becoming clear to me that I should be making coherent work that is inclusive and informative. Work that is an expression of what it feels to be human and an artist and a full and candid explanation of the thoughts that the making of art enforces upon me. Which is why integrity and truth are so important, because if as an artist you want to be truly respected, you must first demonstrate that through your work. Of course the content of the work is also vital to establishing artistic integrity and no matter how beautiful and clever an art work is, it is ultimately defined by its content. Here I ask the question, can a religious painting, truly be a work of art or is it an application of artistry, technique over subject matter. Another question I have is about commissioned work, when you are paid to produce a specific work in which the content is dictated to you, can you define it as true art.


My personal conclusion is that most art is subverted away from the inner truth of the artist, by the pressures of life and insecurities inherent in humanity. That as artists we follow the money of the collectors and patrons and that we seek attention of the critics and establishment by charming them with our work, so we use our art to chase in order to establish ourselves and in doing so become performing seals and through this folly we become lost souls. And so the dogmatic principles of the arts establishment and the academic formalizing of historical notions of art become so engrained that we deceive ourselves without really knowing and it is only when you face extreme adversity that you are forced to see through it, because ultimately it is corrupt. That corruption is possibly not intentional, but it is a corruption that directs art along certain channels and makes it palatable to society. What I write about is very important to my own life as an artist, because it is all part of a personal search to uncover what I feel are fundamental truths. And I believe it is important in a world suffering from commercial madness that there are alternative perspectives beyond greed and exploitation and that art is about freedom and inclusivity and not some elitist esoteric nonsense. I cannot work with a pure intent unless I have a very deep understanding of myself and the environment in which I operate, which is why I have to constantly analyse the broader picture.


I have come a long way down this road of my choosing and found part of what I was looking for, I work more at what I feel is my genuine art than at any other time in my life and I feel like a true artist. Of course I’m still inhibited and restrained by my limitations, but I will try my hardest to realise a positive contribution. Art is a truly amazing and interesting human pursuit that offers an amazing opportunity to work towards freedom and an understanding of self. But it takes a lot of courage to step out of line, even though it may be seen by society as an epic failure, it is still a risk worth taking in my eyes.


❤ ❤ ❤

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