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From Utopia to Dystopia and back

February 5, 2015

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Thirty years of art has moved me in strange ways, with many unexpected turns and surprise awakenings. On a human level it has stripped me bear continually exposing my limitations and filled the voids with an evolving knowledge that feels empirical. Though each time I acquire the conceit to assume a level of absolute knowledge, I’m brought crashing down to earth through the insight that art and contemplation delivers. In this regard I’ve travelled quite far, or it feels like I have through my changing perceptions and knowledge and I now feel in a position where there is more fluidity in my creative approach. Having said that I still feel the real limitations of my artistic vocabulary, something that I really hope my fluidity can counteract.

The mystery of the last few years has evolved into my most crucial developmental leap  to date, brought about by the real crisis of wandering with eyes wide open into an artistic dead-end. In short I fell into the trap that is  waiting for all artists and once in there It was almost impossible to escape. But escape I did in the most awkward way possible as I wriggled out of my own entrapment and discomfort, and now that I’m experiencing relative creative freedom once again I can only hope that my harsh lessons will protect me from falling once again.

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So in the here and now I’m faced with reconstructing the pathway of my life, driven purely by my own intuition, knowledge and self belief, something which I had neglected in my search for acknowledgement. The reasons why don’t really matter, but they boil down to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem, two things which I have since proven worthy of ditching , through the merit and integrity of my art. Now, this is important to me, because to be the true artist I aspire to be, I need to stand tall behind my ideas and not buckle at the knees when the replies to my creativity confront and challenge my credentials. It is a complex situation when the authenticity of art and its relevance is so tenuous and variable, but one you have to embrace if you want to realise your possibility. It is also important to realise that attaining ones possibility may have no place in the society you live in, but that is the real risk of art, there are no guarantees or absolutes, but instead future possibilities. As I often say it comes down to having the courage of your convictions to realise your conceptual insight into tangible and coherent artistic gestures.

 

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My experience has ripped up the rule books from my art education and disseminated the theoretical academic rhetoric into an irrelevance for me, because I have come to see art in my own way. Art as an open and fluid dialogue, a conversation with life if you like. An expression not only reacting to life experience but also one of accessing the core of your being on the deepest of levels and it is the very freedom it offers that is key to the unlocking of self. So no longer is my art about art about art, instead it is an independent art about life, a dialogue open to anyone who is interested, free from the elitist pretentions of institutional dogma.

I’ve discovered the priority is to live your life and learn to trust what and how you feel about it, then you express it any way that feels right and for me it really is that simple. The problem is that to get to where I am now I’ve had to jump through so many hoops and perform to the crowds in order to earn my spurs, so that I felt I had earned the right to challenge the status quo with my own work. In hind sight it seems quite ridiculous but I was afraid  that it might have appeared arrogant and naive to have been so challenging as a young and unproven artist. I guess in some ways that I always believed there was a mountain to climb to get to the promised land, unfortunately my reality proved that there was no promised land for me.

But the good news is that eventually I have found my freedom and can move forward immersed in a greater knowledge, with a renewed confidence and my self-esteem somewhat restored. I have to say that this period of my life has been extremely serious for me and quite a sobering experience, you could say it’s wiped the smile off my face. So now as I move forward I’ll be hunting down that smile so that I can wear it just a little bit more.

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❤ ❤ ❤

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