Well after writing the Slog last week, I thought I'd talk a bit about Art. What it is, isn't, and how I feel about it.
I was touring around a bit today here in Northland New Zealand, and there are quiet a few art events going on here and there that got me thinking about Art with a capital A.
First off let me say that this is a topic that I feel strongly about and I'm not too interested in being PC about my thoughts on this topic. If you are an artist, or consider yourself an artist, that's between you and God. My opinion is just that. My opinion.
With that said...
So much that I see called art out there, frankly, appalls me. Much of it is amateurish crap with prices attached. Sorry but that's the truth. I wish that people would work harder at their art. Not just squirt out some paint on a canvas in a style that copped from some other half-assed yahoo.
It's not just a lot of "modern" styled art that's crap, but much of the representational art I see is lacking quality and, or, originality also. Why is there so much bad art out there? What can be done about it if anything?
I think there's so much bad art because much of our generation of artists and a few proceeding us, have been taught that art is something you just "feel" and that it will just magically occur with little or no skill needing to be being employed on the part of the artist. That, Art just pops into existence from some kind of divine lightning bolt of inspiration.
This fallacy has come about in large part due to the work of many untutored "modern" artists being embraced by the art establishment. There is such a thing as good amateur art. But, it is the rarest of commodities. Truth be told most good "modern" art has been created by artists that knew how to draw and paint but as a part of their artistic progression, choose to subsume or even obliterate representational qualities from their work.
As far as I'm concerned if you don't have some skill at drawing or a lot of practice in painting the odds of you creating good original Art, are close to zero. If by some chance, you do create something good, odds are great that you will not be able to keep your work at a high level without outright copying another artists work or style. You'll just keep repainting your last successful piece over and over like some sad automaton.
By the way, when I said that calling yourself an artist is between you and God. That means even if your successfully fooling the art establishment, your peers, and yourself, you're still not fooling the universe. Good art is, truth, beauty, and most importantly, lasting. Crap art will eventually sink like a turd to the bottom of the bowl. Only to be flushed by art history.
So, what can be done?
First off. Stop lying to yourself. Stop being lazy and roll up your sleeves. Get to work. If a jobs worth doing, it's worth doing well. Stop believing your friends when they tell you that your latest crappy painting is inspired goodness. They probably don't have the guts to tell you the truth. Or perhaps letting you think you're hot stuff is salving their lazy praise craving egos as misery loves company.
Either way, knowing when you are creating worthless art is the first job of any self respecting artist. And, deciding that you can and will do better is the only way out. If creating good art was easy, there would be a lot more of it around. It's not easy. It's hard, and inspired or not, an artist must work at their art until they are the master of it. Not the broken product of a half-baked art establishment that passes bullshit off as great art.
In conclusion, I want to say that this information may come off as harsh but if you are one of these halfway artists pursuing an art dream, you owe it to those of us that have to look at your crappy art, to at least try harder. Quit doing art for praise of even money (if you are making any) and start to think about what you are putting into this world, why it matters and who will care about it in 100 years.
A bit about "Summer Dusk". This painting was inspired by a recent trip to Hawaii. It's really all about the sky in this one. One of the reasons I love painting in a square format is that it allows me tons of room for the sky. I'd say painting skies is probably my favorite part of landscape painting..
I'm pretty happy with the end result I got on "Summer Dusk". I feel that it strikes a good balance between being finished but not over finished. It's too easy to over work a painting and end up choking all the life out of it.