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Searching for an Artful Purpose

November 25, 2015

50

Even in darker moments I feel lucky to be alive, living anything but an over easy life, in what could be described as one hell of a ride. Society fucks you up but when you jail break the shackles, there is a whole new world of possibility. These endless possibilities serve to allure the artists, fertile ground for the exploration of expression without rules, on a road to the place called Anarchy. To go where you like armed with humanity, questioning assumed values to destruction, all the way to inconvenience and beyond. Yes artists can be the hell raisers and realizers of  awkward truths, truths which undermine the social fabric, a fabric which you could say promotes generality and the oppression of free will. And so the Art serves to provoke a form of spiritual liberation, there to set us free from the drudgery of compromised existence.

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It’s an experience surviving as an artist within contemporary society, a real roller coaster ride and because creativity is unpredictable, so is the artist. I often feel, that this unpredictability is an inconvenience to a society which seems to have a place for almost everything. And although the implied pressures often make me feel like I’ve a duty to conform I somehow manage to resist, keeping my faith in the vagaries of possibilities and distant dreams. These pressures can silence many artists as they fall into the zones of comfort, conformity and compliance, neutralised into making for the markets of commodity and those puzzle pieces for academia to solve (and I speak here from experience). However some of us are eventually left to go feral and we get to dig deeper into the illusions which form the mythology of our existence.

1

Art really can be deep shit, an informal language which knows no bounds, a language capable of going beyond the limitations of the conventions we collectively choose to accept. And for me I explore myself the ego, and I do this proudly so that I may understand the nature of being in existence and have a chance to see clearly the world in which I live, to understand civilisation and find a way of expressing the vibe of my time. But not as some trivial fashionistic portrayal of the glossy facade, because for me art is a much deeper process. A process in which we must see a society stripped bare in order to find  the substance that may reveal some deeper understanding of the spiritual realm of existence.

12

It has become almost impossible for me to accept anything on face value after thirty years of being an artist, and I can be thankful for the uncomfortable circumstances of my life, because they have broken me down on many an occasion and taught me well. I survive and that is something, keeping it together and moving on slowly, two steps forward and one step back, just to keep checking. A progression through life which is slow and awkward perhaps even methodical to some extent and all I have to cling on to is a purpose. And all that I now know after all these years is that I in fact know nothing, as I hold onto the transient beliefs and concepts that accompany me on my journey.

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It often amuses me, how tentative offers come my way due to the nature of my work, yet the reality of what lies beneath it, seems to scare people away, because my work is based on reflective truths. It’s the old carrot dangling trick which is there to demonstrate the rewards for being a good boy in the patronising and pretentious environment of the art world, a world in which the truth is sacrificed. But you must remember that the art world is a house of cards, in which reputations, status and ego are often more important for the social climbers looking to create a status, than the artists themselves who are forced to explore ego through a search for authentic expression. The problem I have is that when there is an internal decision to make which concerns integrity, I can’t resist following what feels correct, because true art can’t be bought or controlled to fulfill elitist agendas. Yet the art world is awash with money and crass values, a hierarchical system which has eroded art into the vulgarity of commodity, fought over in auction houses by people who’s understanding of art is no better than anyone else’s.

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I believe the message of art is being taken away, stolen if you like,  from the ordinary people, through the esoteric nature of “the game of art”. A game which alienates the ordinary people by coercing them into accepting ignorance, in order to flatter those who flatter themselves as the enlightened, which is a great injustice. This may sound extreme but art serves an elite within our societies, both on a fiscal level and a so-called intellectual academic level. The rich own it and the academics  own the knowledge to understand, interpret and explain it. This often leaves the poor alienated from art because it demonstrates the truth of division, for the have’s and the have not’s, exposing the corruption of hierarchy. Exposing the flaws in education and how our humanity is robbed of the right for transparent and authentic human expression. And how society is robbed of the gift of art, the art sent to enrich our lives and help us perceive our world and circumstance from the differing perceptions of creative minds.

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In fact the whole art market is an exercise in subterfuge, which creates its own set of values  and promotes art as accessory for the higher tiers of society. It creates a myth which is convenient in the upholding of hierarchy and distracts us from the meaning of art and its true value to humanity. As an artist I feel obliged to question this and share my reflections regardless of how unpopular it makes me and as I can’t find a way of sharing my work in the real world I will use words to articulate my views. This world after all is pretty fucked up and is in desperate need for change, something that will not be brought about through silence.

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As an artist I’m poor and always have been, I’m also ordinary and always have been, but my art has taught me that I need no secrets and that anyone can understand my art. I don’t treat life or art as a game and I don’t pretend to be anything other than a person who works hard and struggles. Yes, I’m proud of my achievement as an artist but ashamed of the institutions which silence authentic artists such as myself. I could go on working till my death having never had the chance to expose my work to the public and this angers me, it angers me because by being independent no favours will come my way. But I will not stoop to sycophantic measures or subject my work to the subjective judgement of the self-proclaimed arbiters of taste. Neither will I compromise for the convenience of dilution and generality, because I believe in the power of choice and self-determination.

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It’s the subjective judgement of art which I feel lies at the heart of the problem with creativity in contemporary society. A problem which is blinding us to the creative expression and intent, because instead of being open to the message and insight, we are encouraged to judge it as a commodity or through fame, brand, personality and trademark styles. In short art got bought up by the ruling classes and sold its soul, capitalism prevailed and mainstream art became theatre and for artists like myself there is simply no place at the table.

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Through my artistic practice I’ve awakened to a personal truth and belief, which directly contradicts the perceptions of art which were engrained into my psyche. Through this process I found that the purpose for my art is all about an open human expression, an expression from a detached place in where I experience a perception of freedom. And in this world of show where style, scale and awe shine so brightly, I see my art almost like a primitive votive offering made to be shared in a humble way, art with substance to connect our journeys with a level of intimacy and humanity.

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Right now in my own life I’m at a complete loss, I truly don’t know which direction to take, because I feel that I’ve seen through so many illusions. I struggle with my trivialized role within the art world and still can’t find a reason to continue making sculpture, just to perpetuate a life of poverty and marginalisation. So I’m faced with a significant challenge in which I’ve resolved some interesting conceptual possibilities but have no reason or purpose to realise them beyond feeding them into the hands of private collectors, which is fine but what about the ordinary people like me. Will the work be hidden away for ever if I make it and if so is that a noble purpose and one that would satisfy a life of idealistic struggle. Or am I just being stuffed by a system and essentially neutralised into insignificance, ouch!!!! the truth stings.

As always, have a beautiful day ❤ ❤ ❤

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