I am sick of everyone who has had one lesson in art immediately setting themselves up in that profession, as an artist. Creativity makes you whole and balanced and happy no matter what profession you have...Anything in life can be seen as a chore or a creative act. Zen Buddhists teach how to wash dishes and become enlightened, while doing that creatively.
Artists are professionals with that particular calling, a vocation. You don't have to be an artist to live creatively. Doctors and engineers can be creative or work by rote...
Today in the gallery a man came up to me to say he is an engineer by profession but has decided to be an artist now that he is retired and made a better mobile with better action configuration than a well known mobile artist. He than asked me how he should price his art? He obviously thinks that if he makes something technically similar to Picasso he can charge the same fee or close to it.
Well needless to say I gave him a piece of my mind. First I said art is not about technique it is about communicating something to the world. Good technique in your chosen media just makes it easier to say whatever it is you are meant to say.
I suggested it is a good idea that he wants to expand himself into becoming a creative individual but he is a long way from being an artist by just producing a well engineered mobile...
Being an artist is first and foremost something that you do not decide but it decides you. Really how many people would choose to spend the best part of their life struggling and poor? Only if you are propelled and obsessed do you first go to college then become a professional in that trade.
I explained that creativity is a mindset that changes the way you live and do anything, anything can be creative. Asking me pricing first as the most important thing in the art world is a sure sign he is not even close to being an artist.
The poor man was shocked but took it in stride. He left knowing there was work to do on himself, not just building well oiled mobiles!
is I am always in awe how The New Agers can distort even spiritual issues and make them about getting money and stuff, like happiness and every little thing ones heart desires. And of course they also believe that if you are seriously ill or poor or have a tragedy in your life it is due to not believing and manifesting hard enough!
No wonder Nature wants to get rid of us.
New Agers have totally distorted Buddhist Teachings with their "positivity" jargon that does not allow for the expression of emotions, especially tears, anger or even joy...and where do these emotions go, straight into their sublimating unconscious where they fester and distort reality. The more you want to control life the more out of touch with it you will be, living in a delusional la la land. The justification for this is, so I have heard from some Millenials is that we have only one life so we should just enjoy it. So get your toxic self away from them, they do not want to see reality or hear about it or even basically think about anything remotely critical because they are prefect and don't need to change a thing about themselves.
Well it is true the Buddhist have said that our Buddha nature is perfect...but are we? Hardly! According to Buddhism we have many lives and each one is for the purpose of becoming a BETTER human being, not a wealthier one with a more comfortable lifestyle. We come back to work on ourselves so we can be closer to our buddha nature in our everyday actions. Because that is our authentic self. This requires focus, discipline, practicing compassion, being of service to others and above all acknowledging the reality and truth of every moment of life. Being present to whatever is there be it uncomfortable, ugly, hurtful, or plain smelly. Being kind, generous and tolerant and above all, loving. If you are having a gay old time and think the homeless deserve to be there in the street, then you are out of touch with the purpose of our existence.
We will all die and whether we return many times or not all you need to be assured of is that once your body is gone it not the end...somewhere and who knows where, you will reap what you sow. By leading a positive selfish life, while ignoring the suffering of others will cost you down the road...
Life would have to be pretty stupid to make such a complex entity as a human...only to finish him off after 80 years...with sole purpose of watching him make himself a wealthy comfortable existence.
Even if you abhor religion and profess to being a spiritual person there are guidelines to developing your spirituality and from all my readings and experiences I can assure you it has nothing to do with manifesting what you want by believing in it and making affirmations. It takes work on yourself, deep humility, faith in something bigger than your own ego and a flawless character.
In the days of Trump and mounting fascism art has taken a tumble into the recycling bin.
We are looking into the past to try to renew our enthusiasm and reverence for what art used to be in the times of beauty and light and gentle soulfulness and unobtrusive geometry. But can we really re-create a past, any past. I don’t think so, just like it is impossible to recapture youthful innocence once it is lost, we can not ignore what we have seen and experienced.
So where does art move from the highly placed unemotional, platform of neutrality, namely abstract art, where only conceptualization gave us access to its meaning. No bird splatter turds allowed…pure design, free hand or measured.
We were complacent and ignored the world, we hid in our cozy sterile gallery settings. But the world has impinged on our sensibilities now that it is turning evil and we can no longer ignore the vileness and stupidity of it.
So do artists portray the darkness and return to realism in art. to the purity of technique. No, because that is just another avoidance and escape from being human. To be human artists need to express their emotions, the whole gamut of light to heavy, irony and tears and humour, implicit in them. We can longer stick our heads and in the sand and explore the sand particles in detail.
We not only need to cry out at the inequities but give people hope that things can be different.
Do we do that by conceptualizing what symbols and forms to use? No, we do it by being authentic on canvas or in our performance art or installations or videos…we do that by expressing our horror of what we see AND our love for what we know is also there.
In other words, expressionism is back with a new twist, reverence for life anew. Not just self-mastubatory reverence for narrow art of the mind but full bodied explorations of being human.
There are two types of artists (of course there are many more commercial artists) but in terms of fine art basically two.
One sits in solitary confinement and explores their inner world as a way to reach the universe. And often if they are persistent and committed will stumble onto magic, the magic of connecting with symbols and thoughts beyond their own that seem to come from an archetypal ether that are available to all who become that focussed and open. They dream and connect with inner worlds that often have connections with all knowledge, way beyond their own culture and upbringing and society.
When I graduated from OCAD and began painting a series of bird women I was totally shocked at what I produced! I have always been an urbanite and never even thought about nature...no one was more surprised than I. I also had never read anything about Indigenous beliefs or was even interested in it. Then one day at MOMA in NY I saw a whole floor of birdwomen sculptures from early Europe. Nothing is totally new or unique it seems.
I think artists are conduits for the universe...and to blame them or curtail them is ridiculous. Of course there a lot of charlatans who simply piggyback on what others produce....and then maybe we can call that cultural appropriation.
That is the other type of artist, who watches and observes and then produces what is in fashion, without it really being meaningful to them. Like a young woman in Toronto who liked Norval Morrisseau's pretty colours and shapes (so she claimed) and basically reproduced them with her own signature and tried to have a solo exhibit with them in Toronto. They were unrelated to whom she was and the symbols had no significant meaning for her. She was playing at being a thriving artist, without the hard work and hassle of digging into herself and discovering what she had to communicate to the world.
Many people are enamoured with technique when looking at a painting, especially when it is an exact copy of a photograph, i.e. photorealism. But really, what is the point of doing exact copies of something a photograph does really well already. As far as I can see none. A painting is special in that it can speak immediately to your heart or gut and you can either love it or hate it, both valid reactions. But something that you can say only intellectually that is well rendered...well it is simply boring and says nothing. Francis Bacon said that the purpose of art is to portray mystery. I agree. A painting needs to make you feel and see something that is intriguing, makes you want to think about it, be disturbed. And also be beautifully done, even if it is only a few strokes on a canvas. Paintings that say it all, including upholstery patterns just don't leave room for your mind to become ignited, to evoke contemplation. Giving birth to contemplation is the real purpose of a painting. Contemplation is not conceptualization.
Did anyone notice that not only is kitsch in style now and consultants are openly telling rich collectors to buy it, the kitschier the better, but also art, even good art is being framed in the kitschiest possible style. If you don't believe me just look at the documentary, "The Price of Everything".
It reminds me a bit of the Rococo era, which was the end of the Baroque period where everything was over the top decorative, dripping in elaborate ornamentation and fanciful curves. That whole period was associated with the high life of wealthy Aristocracy, especially in France. Towards the end of Rococo, the French people had had enough, and the French Revolution toppled the monarchy and power of the aristocrats. And then, art did what art always does when there is a major social or political shift, it changed as well and left Rococo behind.
Maybe we are at the end of the high life of Industrial Magnates, who replaced the Aristocracy and it will take a social-political revolution to leave the kitschy art behind. The revolution seems to be happening albeit slowly and so far mostly thanks to social media...if FB doesn't limit us further.
I predict that art will once again return to acknowledging beauty and soul (after Rococo came Neo-classisim) once society becomes social-democratic, and the tyrannical Magnates and corrupt Industrials are forced to leave. It might only take bankrupting them and voting out the politicians that support them without a need of arms.
I just finished watching "The price of Everything" on Netflix and I am all the more confirmed that the marketplace has killed art. After impressionism, expression and minimalism came kitschism, because that is what is fashionable now and selling for 75 million...consultants are telling rich people that a piece of art is stupid and meaningless and that is why they should buy it. And they do, for millions. It is all a con game using artists as pawns with no integrity ethics or rules. At the end of the documentary finally the truth is told that history is ruthless and it is very doubtful that the biggest selling artists living now will remain in history books, rather it is more likely they will be cut out. So artists, you have a choice to make, do you want fame and money now or have your art stay in history and be immortal?
Conceptualism is still alive and well except on screen now instead of paper and canvas ...a theme that is talked about with little regard for the quality of the visuals themselves. The theme maybe important but if presented in an uninteresting manner loses its impact. And you have to present written contexts next to the visuals to know what is going on. Even in this latest AGO show the larger photos on metal were shit...simply badly done...and the portraits were not enhanced by all that glitter. Kitschy. I liked the theme but found the art ho-hum, except for maybe one image...the video was also boring, albeit meant to shock...the previous show at AGO, by Rebecca Belmore had much more depth and quality of artistic merit. It was brilliant...there was a video that actually spoke about reality and moved you..not conceptualism...you understood it without having to go and read about it. You felt it.
Have you ever noticed that when you are an artist, you like to talk about how everybody has their own vocation and that you were meant to be an artist, especially if you have family money to rely on......and if you are a garbage collector you talk about survival in this shitty world...and you are sure that you were really meant to be an artist....so the first opportunity you have at piling paint on a page...you are inspired tp pursue the career of an artist instead and if you are a good business man/woman, you might actually eke a living, especially if you happen to be digitally savvy...you don't even need to know how to draw or paint or design or think or anything else in the art profession..., just squish some pixels in a program on the computer.
Galleries now often don't want to show paintings and drawings as being passe and only contemporary art which means hanging used stockings on a stick (installation) or presenting a boring video in a loop. Did you notice that the more boring the photo the larger in size as if size were to compensate for actually saying something or beauty.
Mixed media is the new catch phrase....again usually meaning a few brush strokes on a photo, large of course!
The Turner Prize 2018 was given to a woman who made a "film" on a I Phone, meaning she overlapped some images and recorded some trite thoughts on top about herself of course...blah blah blah....this is the largest prize an artist can get...there are a lot of brilliant movies ...this in comparison is really mickey mouse.
A truly great painting, that is alive (as Van Gogh said a painting should be) that effects you would have been more worthy to receive such a prize...me thinks.
Play in the mud when it is raining you will have the same effect as expressive painting...
All of life can be creative...people ought to be taught to live creatively, to wash dishes creatively....that is the problem people have been led to believe that only art is creativity...art is a profession, a vocation, like medicine...which can also be creative. Because of this confusion between art and creativity the arts are rapidly disappearing as a legitimate profession and are inundated with kitsch...by daubsters.
Doctors will soon be prescribing art, music, acting...Such BS...
Art is a profession, not a cure all...or drug. When looking at good art, listening to good music, watching good acting you are transported and maybe healed of some emotional malady...but making everybody do art who is not meant to be an artist will simply create what is happening now...kitsch...and kill the artistic professions. Maybe artists should practice medicine.
In Art of Living Programs the emphasis is on learning mindfulness, stress free techniques and meditation. Which will make you a creative individual in any profession...it is a way of being in the world. Doing a lot of art can also change you over a long period of time, if you are immersed in it daily. And you are disciplined! But most people find it too boring and strenuous to meditate regularly. It is the boredom in fact that gives you break throughs in the meditative process and changes you. It is the only way to get out of your egos for awhile. However most hobbyists do art maybe once a week if lucky and then focus on the production end of it, so it really does not effect their life in any significant way. And then they quickly want to expose it and sell it to their friends to be affirmed. The art usually communicates nothing significant, like finger painting and can feel good in the moment. And you don't have to go to school for 4 years.