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So what the fuck is art anyway

December 19, 2014

 

116For too long I lived with a level of assumption, which I can no longer accept, that assumption being that the accepted ways of seeing art and the western definition of art was the just way it is. But over time I have found that it is imperative for me to define art in a way that feels true to the essence of my being. It isn’t an easy task and my definition is full of contradictions, as I struggle with defining the outcome of creative expression.  I am at times guilty of tunnel vision with my approach and also from a faulty engagement with the way I view the art of other artists and it doesn’t feel quite right. I believe this is the result of dissatisfaction with my own practice, which polluted my vision through my own discontent, so instead of enjoying the work of others, I was instead reminded of my own inadequacies. I don’t like the judgmental ways of seeing that I feel are very much a part of our social conditioning and I really want to break free from it but it is a massive struggle. You see the problem with being judgemental is that it prevents you from seeing and absorbing what is in front of you, because it creates a petty prejudice. And with this prejudice I feel robbed of experiencing life to the full as I become defensive, for no good reason. When I work happily and do my best it enables me to look at the world with a greater purity, because my satisfaction gives me a deep inner peace. How I view the world outside my window acts very much as a barometer which indicates my current levels of satisfaction and at the moment I’m reaching a good place.

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It isn’t easy for artists in societies that extol the virtues of art in a divisive way, elevating some whilst rejecting others and grading art generally into convenient categories, in fact this Faustian pact between artists and the establishment has come to dictate the ways of art.  Art defined for convenience, but when you analyse the definitions and examples, it simply poses more questions, because it is a construct based on the consensus of a few. For example if slaves were used to construct the great art works of Egypt, is the work actually art and if so who is the artist, was it the Pharaoh’s or their architects and designers. And if the slaves are the artists, does that mean that art has little to do with free expression. Or is the great historical art that we covet in the west not actually art. Another example is religious art, which has a huge contribution to world art, who is the artist, is it God, or is it the church, or the architects and artists who design the work from a given brief. My thought is that art is about free human expression and not the technical production of work to fit the brief of an employer. I feel so strongly about art that I now refuse to do commissions that I feel will compromise and erode the integrity of my art.

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As an artist it is incumbent upon me to ask these questions and if I want my work to be considered as art, it is imperative that I can at least define art in my own thoughts. It is also important that I communicate my beliefs as part of the responsibility of putting art out into the world. With each passing day I get closer to understanding my position and with every gesture through drawing or sculpture I learn and grow a little more and so I share my conclusions. Funnily enough I no longer see the finished product as a work of art and this is because the process of creativity is not bound by products, it is much broader and I feel in my own work that it is more about a body of work that describes a journey.

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I believe it is important for an artist to question everything and work with a pure intent, because this is how you bring about change, for my part all I can do is scatter a few seeds. So this is my gesture, a small token in the scheme of things and it is because I feel so passionate about the integrity of art that I share my thoughts. Art gives you a vision and all you can do is share it without expectation in the hope that it will stimulate a reaction. It is a beautifully challenging way of life, even though it takes me to the edge and keeps me up late at night in an attempt to make some sense out of it all.

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As an independent artist, this blog is my only outlet for a theoretical commentary, a place where I can share my thoughts, and it’s because in life there is no one who wishes to be bored by my philosophical pontifications that I so I choose to have this dialogue here with whom ever takes any interest. I’m not tempted to direct my writing towards any commercial or formal practice because that would impede on my unstructured approach. Similarly with my drawings I refuse to sell them because they are my open enquiries uncensored by the thought of commodity.  I have to say that as an artist this approach is paying off through an accelerated  period of personal development, in which I have found a way forward with a strong sense of meaning and purpose.

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 ❤ ❤ ❤

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