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The Value of Art

February 22, 2016


Do you ever wonder in the midst of this crazy life what an artist can offer society and if they bring any value into our lives. Because I do, and in my research as an artist I look to deliver a message through my work which cuts through the superficial gloss of life, offering some depth and insight. A complicated task in itself which is seemingly rooted in the most tentative connections of an intuitive nature.


The complexity stems from trying to deliver substance without contrivance, necessitating a need for trust and believe in yourself. In order to grasp something meaningful to communicate through your own language, without fear of judgement. Making exactly what you believe in because it feels authentic in your time and place.


It’s a grave responsibility in one sense because the artist is the keeper of the position of freedom within society, for they have no remit or language to adhere to. In fact it’s encumbent upon the artist to find their own language in order to communicate the message of the human spirit.The choice of subject matter is huge and only limited by the artist themselves and this also applies to technique, style and every aspect of choice. After all the artist is playing with the concept of freedom, free will and choice. A life that is often rewarded with a deep sense of satisfaction and self realisation, even if you have to endure a little punishment and bruising along the way.


I often say if artists cannot be free in society then we have a serious problem because it would indicate that our freedom in a broader context is compromised. And from my own experience I would have to say our freedom is under threat because art is not only compromised commercially  through commodification, but also public institutions are not allowing art to be presented to the people. There is simply no attempt to encourage institutional meritocracy, even though it would be imposible with the subjective nature of art. And when art is state sponsored through institutions it is forced into levels of compliance through the beaurocratic process. Add to this the corporate sponsorship of art and you have an art world sold to the highest bidder and the continuation of hierarchical imposition on the freedom of humanity. And what is in fact a creative direction imposed on society through the ruling class, as the history books tell us.


Art happens no matter what, because it’s a human imperative that cannot be avoided and yet as a civilization we struggle with the simplicity of this impulse. In fact I would go as far as saying that as a civilization we have a problem with being human, with all the inconvenience it brings to the desire for order.  I personally struggle with societal pressure forcing the issue and forcing art in a most peculiar way, because it impacts heavily on artists such as myself. At times it can be like inhabiting two worlds at war with each other, as you try to creatively squeeze something out which satisfies both your own expectation and societies requirements.


I believe that governments who have already abdicated most of their responsibilities, by delegating everything to the private sector of the market economy, are failing the public on many levels. This benign neglect of the population is a deeply troubling reality which is impacts on social welfare and undermines the spiritual need for a deeper connection to society and life itself. It’s something demonstrated in the art world and the treatment of artists as the managers of commercial businesses as they are tortured with an expectation to be entrepreneurial. It’s an utterly crazy imposition on a creative mind that dreams, thinks and contemplates in a sentient way and society should be big enough to understand this. But unfortunately the crass vulgarity of capitalism is denigrating art and making unsung heroes out of those that fight for the integrity of human freedom.


There are values which extend beyond the fiscal priorities of government dogma and I keep coming back to this area of value through my work. The problem being that there is only one value on the table and that trying to live your life with more fundamental human values is almost impossible in contemporary society. The weight of pressure you feel for the time not spent in production grows year on year as we accelerate into the single value society.


There are times when I feel utter despair, trapped into a society that has robbed me of my feeling of freedom and I have to try and find myself in order to produce authentic art. And though I find the space to breathe there is always the harbinger of doom breathing down my neck taunting me because of my empty wallet. But I fight on in the vain hope that through the course of my life I will find a way to express myself in truth and that I may realise the purpose I feel within.


But in spite of despair I always feel there is hope and optimism because anything is possible  and that is the beauty of life. The beautiful mystery of life which holds us all in its grasp, once the ingredients have been released from the cosmic chaos into the formation of our transient existence

Thank you for looking 🙂

  1. Anonymous permalink

    So Beautifully said my friend – I live in both the commercial world as a personal development specialist and in the art world as an artist and art educator – I so encourage individuals to create with no more purpose than to connect with their selves, to communicate with others and to play.

    I really enjoy your writing, you make me feel connected and understood – thank you


    Liked by 1 person

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