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The Art of Contradiction

February 9, 2016

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I find art to be an intensely personal process which is reflected in the scale of my work, when I draw, it’s close up and personal like an intimate dialogue, the same with my sculpture too. And the art feels right when there is nothing to interupt the flow of thoughts and intent, a reflection of how I try to approach life. That living of life being a birth right to unburdened experience, with the chance to nurture a perspective without the weight of, countless theories of conventional wisdom.

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If people engage with my art I’d like them to be drawn in as opposed to be standing back in shock and awe and that is because my art is based on a simple human scale which reflects the truth of my life, at an arms length. There is no show and little to impress, beyond a gently intimate communication, an opposing message to that of the big brash brands which dominate popular culture. You see I feel that large scale can veer towards, style over substance, big to impress in order to create an experience and boast about technological advancement. Art made to fill galleries as opposed to art made to fill the imagination and nurture the soul. In one sense I should follow suit, so that I may reflect my contemporary culture, but I can’t, which is all part of my contradictory web, of a life in search of authenticity.

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I do believe my perspective is slightly curious, however it’s an approach that I feel passionate about, though it’s hard to maintain in the cauldron of this noisy frantic world. At times I get utterly lost in the dialogue of my art, a world in which I feel alive and a world in which each gesture feels vital and full of meaning. Though I can never reside here for too long because the other reality is always there crashing the party, with what feels like petty demands. But at least I get to touch upon something quite special which I share through my art to a reluctant world.

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Curiously I’ve learned to engage in the moment and when I leave my art I’m aware that the intensity of feeling and belief are left behind with the work. So I become detatched through a compartmentalised approach which is the only way I feel that I can maintain a level of integrity. Though having written that, there are periods of my life where my general attention is focused in one direction with intermitent breaks for other life issues. And so I become lost in my own world of intense struggle and vague to those around me.

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It may sound indulgent but it’s only through this intensely intimate process that I can touch on the possibilities that are within my human potential. A potential which I believe is tenuous and hard to capture in this loud and distracted life of show and tell. But nevertheless I believe it’s worth trying to pursue these fundamental values which transcend the weight of human theoretical imposition (in my own life).

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I became an artist for a reason and that was because of a need to be able to communicate with a freedom beyond the confines of a specific language or vocabulary. It’s complicated to explain, but imagine if you had no words to articulate your thoughts and feelings, or words to shape your thoughts and all you had was the sensory perception of the moment, through which you felt and experienced being. Just how different would the experience of life be and this is particularly relevant to me because I attempt to communicate through a visual language, in which the only boundaries are constructed from my own limitations. I feel it’s all about establishing a sense of freedom so that I can live without the confinements and imposition of a prescriptive social order. I mean what is the USP of a human being and just how do we find out if we’re all bound by the same conventions, as it were playing a single game.

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I am aware that I’m unable to live my life as some form of social experiment because the division of labour does not truly support free artists, so I must tailor some of my efforts to the commodity sector of the art market. To this end I live my life poised between two worlds and it’s like living on a knife edge as I try to explore my human authenticity and survive in the societal arena. I never find a balance and so my life is lived in various states of denial and submission, something which is strongly reflected in my work.

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As I work there is a concern that the imagery should reflect what is available to the uniqueness of my time, space and place and that I should use whatever is at my disposal to communicate. Here again is where I try to allow the unexpected and to follow whatever I stumble accross through my endeavours. Chance can play a big hand in the discovery of something new as long as your mind is open to possibilities.

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I’ve learned some valuable lessons as a one time sculptor who stopped drawing, because I shut down my shop and closed my world to improbable possibilities for many years. It was only because I reached a level of stasis that I awoke from a life with a narrowing trajectory. Since this moment of realisation my artistic practice has changed dramatically to a point where I currently see the consolidation and reworking of ideas to be a superfluous distraction. I have nothing to prove anymore through grand works, though I still feel the need to prove myself through the ideas my approach generates.

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I sometimes wonder if as an artist you can touch upon a never ending flow of ideas, and if so, is there any point in developing singular concepts which can halt you in your tracks. It’s again this idea of art being about show and tailored to the market as opposed to an evolving journey of discovery. For me this looking for the next big thing, going viral or trade mark style is just a distraction to force and direct intent towards conformity. Rewards for compliance and fitting within the contrivance of a conveniently evolving art world as it methodically works through a forced evolutionary process.

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Sometimes you have to step out of line to see life through your own eyes and loosen the spell cast by society. But it’s not easy as we are caught up in the flow like a mackerel in a huge shoal, all swimming in the same direction.

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Perhaps accepting moments of complete aloneness is a start, where you stand alone and reflect in the singularity of being. Even though it can be hard to be alone in the hustle and bustle of life, I feel it’s the only time when I’m truly connected and experience the warmth of actuality. The comfort of being at one, complete with the knowledge of who and what you are. Ironically connected through disconnection and released from the ties of sentiment and the weight of extraneous imposition, which for me is close to freedom. It’s that thing about being centred and in the moment, where in silent contemplation you become one with the universe and nothing else matters.

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At the moment I have no answers or solutions beyond letting my life unfold, following what appears as opposed to trying to control the outcome. Because I feel that our whole existence is based on uncertainty, which doesn’t really require the imposition of an order. I guess it’s the anarchy of art which suits me and makes each and every day so damn interesting.

Thanks for looking and have a beautiful day ❤

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