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A Life Unfolding into Art

October 8, 2015

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For a few years now I’ve shared my art and thoughts openly across the various social media platforms, I just felt I ought to join in the party for a while and take my seat at the game. It’s been an interesting experience too, I’ve met some interesting people, some supportive people and a few internet trolls as well.

On the whole I would say it’s been a positive process, even helping me to discover new ways of expressing myself. However it’s been a bit of a love hate relationship and now I feel a change coming over me because the nature of social networking is almost like an addiction and I feel that I must limit my indulgence in order to move forward with my art in the real world. To get my art into a perspective with my real world experience away from the fantasy element of virtuality. I think it’s when it becomes an obligation as opposed to an open and welcome gesture that you realise you’re hooked in, afraid to leave and miss the rest of the party. Caught in the loop of constantly checking for notifications and feeling ignored when there aren’t any, in this world of instant gratification. You see the problem is that as an artist you can live such an isolated life, which the social media can blow apart and of course being an artist you have so much to say 🙂 . Suddenly you don’t feel quite so isolated and the fact that some people care about what you’re doing is quite seductive, some attention at last. But at some point I just have to return to the hard cold reality of working away in solitude and the stillness of my own existential reality.

(My art comes from the dust and dirt of my everyday life because that is where I find my true inspiration, in the depravity of struggle and suffering where I’ve found my spiritual home, my embattled position, cornered where my only option is to come out fighting. The last stand, throwing my work out saying “it’s like that because that’s the way it is” and fuck the consequences because I’ve nothing to lose and a point to prove to the world. Strangely enough I’ve nothing to gain either because nothing rewards a genuine artist more than the satisfaction of creating great art. Funnily enough this is what defines art for me, a reality and experience of living a real life, bearing witness to a common  reality, I call it unprotected living.)

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I can’t help but feel that most of these social networks are engineered to hook us in, because there revenue from advertising depends on our attendance in the forum, they’re like trojans in one sense with strongly motivated ulterior motives. For an independent artist such as myself you feel the political dynamic of these sites because it contrasts with the stillness of a non political studio environment. So for me it almost feels like being in a work place where I must conform to the various protocols. I guess if I was using these sites to build up business and looking for sales then it would have an actual purpose, but my motive was to expose my work and engage in open dialogue and maybe make some contacts that could help me spread my work about. At least by taking part I’ve learned some aspects of  the shaping of our societal interactions and I’ve  learned a little about art in society and what art means to people. I’ve also learned that I’ve led quite a different and reclusive life, that I don’t watch sport, do hobbies, tv or film and therefore I’m a slight social pariah, with a somewhat tangential perspective. A tangential perspective that is both my key to originality in art and the key which is used to lock me out of mainstream acknowledgement.

I now believe that I don’t fit in with what we assume to be the normality of society, I don’t want to fit in and I think I will never fit in. But most importantly I’ve learned how much art means to me, the value it brings to my existence and I’m coming to terms with the meaninglessness of my art to the wider community apart from the few. Something which has effected me deeply through disappointment and occasional bouts of melancholy, because I feel there is a degradation of values in contemporary society due to the onslaught and bombardment of commercial nonsense and promotion of mass-produced bland generalities. It’s crazy but my experiences on these social medias has shown me how hard I’ve fought to protect my sacred gift (the gift we all have) from the pressure of a bullying society, because I’ve borne witness to all of this behaviour. I’ve had encouragement too and seen a broad picture of humanity, all of this as a rebound to me simply sharing my work for anyone who was interested. So I’ve stumbled along holding on to my focus and here I am again, still in the same situation, and with no solution to my predicament beyond a realisation that I must work away in the peaceful solitude of my studio. So I retreat and disappear because the pressure is too much and it affects my work, my thinking and my outlook all of which interferes with what I see as the sacred process of art and creativity. Because if I don’t protect myself my work would become bastardised by these external pressures and I would lose my focus and direction. The delicate thread which binds my creativity together is subtle and tenuous yet it is held together by the contrasting brute force  of a steely determination and cast iron will.

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After five years on these sites I feel that I must diminish my activity because I feel they are quite benign to my reality and that my way forward as an artist should be in the real world. It’s probably to do with the fact I’m a sculptor and deal with three-dimensional dynamics, which leads me to finding two-dimensional platforms quite frustrating. The other problem being that sculpture takes an incredible amount of time to make and the internet absorbs too much of my time and proving to be a distraction. But my blog is different 🙂 because my blog has become an integral part of the process of my art and creativity. It’s really become my third voice, close behind my drawing and my sculpture and vital to my ongoing artistic developments as well as a place where I clarify my thoughts. And perhaps it will be here on my blog where I finally manage to define art from my own perspective, having agonised over the question for so long. It would seem fitting that I finally turn my attention and energies to resolving this understanding which is key to my future developments having turned my back in the mirrored gesture to a society which through its institutions turns its back on art. But at the very least I hope to untangle myself from the complicated webs of compromise and deception which obscure my vision and so that I may see with greater clarity and understanding. something which will then allow me to research and develop a more philosophical approach and understanding of art and creativity.

Right now the question: What is art? feels quite prominent in my thinking, because it certainly isn’t what I used to think it was. Whilst I’ve deconstructed the societal notion of art within my own thinking I haven’t yet managed to replace it with a coherently balanced definition. I’ve also separated art from commodity, commercial value and art as a means for promoting ostentatious hierarchical status. I don’t see art befitting of grand acts of self promotion and vanity, or art as something aimed to please the critics, curators and gallerists, because how can true art be made to conform within the parameters of specific trending and fashion. Because I’m talking about real and dirty art from the soul of an individual produced from the  heart, even torn from he heart and by whatever means possible. What I’m talking about is art without patrons, the art that is real and present and fought for on every level of existence. The art that is authentic to the reality and predicament of the artist and how he or she manages to express through whatever they have to hand. Art that reflects the whole circumstance of existence, without bullshit or pretence, no showing off, no pseudo intellectualism. Art without the limitations of  narrative or contrived context, just raw and inexplicable expression from the depths of humanity. Art of the real world and not from some protected elitist idyll, art of the moment set free from the reference of past precedent so that we can escape from art about art about art. Art that everyone understands as much as they don’t understand, art that is wild and free, unchained from the dogmas of diluted imposition or interpretation. Art free from the concerns of judgement and categorisation so that it can reflect the truth of the mystery we each carry deep within and through this approach we may discover an even understand our nature of being. Because our lives will not be so engrained by the socially engineered  expectations of tradition and limitation. Hell yeah and that’s how I want to cook up my art and that’s how I want to be able to define it, like a fucking explosion of freedom in our uptight societies which promote money chasing clock watching egotistical grabbers.

And this is why I need to shut myself away and so that I can be connected with who and what I am, to bathe in my own reality and express the truth it delivers to my hands and through whatever materials I can scrape together. You see I finally understand why I have to accept my reality and just get on with it, because this is my moment regardless of what may arise out of it. So I can create for the true reason that is my calling in life with the strength, resolve and certainty that is a companion to my existence. My life as an artist is not a performance and so I will not follow any precedent, something which I’ve always protected myself from through my singular approach to art.

Today at last I think I’ve understood that I can achieve what I need to as an artist in the comfort and freedom of my own poverty, simply because I am now able to make what I like and for whatever reason I choose. My true reward could only ever be for my own satisfaction through a feeling of worth in the knowledge that I made the most of my life and possibility. Yet through my weaker moments life had led me to believe that I needed some form of societal success, something which would probably prove to be a greater distraction. The work which I’m currently producing is the direct result of my gargantuan struggles, struggles that took me so near to the edge of utter desolation and  so close to falling that I’m just grateful to be as recovered as I am, with a renewed self-belief which is coming back more and more as each day passes. So for now my white sculptures stand as a symbol of my emancipation, a gesture of purity to reflect the truth of my artistic offerings, they represent what I believe in as an artist. And if no one else believes in my work then that is fine because my path is set for me to move forward with a belief and a reclamation of my rights as a free artist.

There are levels of art and degrees of artistry based on the commitment and belief of the artists and we must each choose our own path and levels. What motivates each of us is different and how much character we carve out of circumstance is so varied that I can only speak for myself with any true conviction. And I have fought for my right and place as an artist in this world, fought to convince myself that I had the right to call myself an artist and fought to find the freedom to unmask myself from the masquerade of societies vanities. It is good to feel unattached and free, to just be able to make what you believe in regardless of societies reaction and regardless of the often crippling fear of anticipated  reactions. I make what I make and that is it, I don’t have to justify it, explain it or put it in any context because it is what it is. An expression from within the entity of my being, externalized and offered as a gift for anyone to react or not react in, any way they choose to do so.

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Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

2 Comments
  1. You have struck a resounding chord within me like the clap of a thunderhead directly above me being struck with Thor’s hammer. You have awakened some conscious thoughts that have remained silent and dormant within me. Thank you for that.
    P

    Liked by 1 person

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