The Perfect Wor[l]d - 04
It mustn’t have been a good day…]
You can try and sell me all your ideas about art and what you think it is. I don’t buy it. I don’t know if I am going to be theoretical on here, or just visceral, but I don’t buy into the assumption that everything is a piece of art, if the maker is an artist. It’s art, it has to be art by definition! And the blasphemy that craft equals art. No, I don’t believe that! I am sitting here in this café and just because I’m tapping away on my laptop in a fairly cool place, drift wood and all, sipping coffee and chomping on a lemon cake, that doesn’t make me an artist. I do believe I have created art in the past and I know that some of my writings are good. Pretty good, actually. Those could be considered art or writing of some literary and artistic value. But sitting here, by the window, blogging: no. This is practice. This is homework. This is resilience and hence understanding if I really want to do this seriously and professionally. And I mean, to write. It doesn’t mean that I have to ponder close to death and exhaustion on some pages, by candlelight, depressed and in consumption while I am gifting the world of another masterpiece, to consider myself a writer. To be a writer means to write, every day. A minimum of words that make sense and are grammatically correct. Every day. And then, when the idea for a novel, or book arrives, add that to the practice. In the meantime, I could write articles, essays, introductions to other people’s work, art critique, brochures, presentation. And do research, serious research. I should be able to know the nearest libraries like the back of my hand. I should also read, extensively, about anything. I should look up at the sky and into other people’s eyes instead of having my face and nose buried in my phone. I should be walking and going out, generically out: wandering, meandering, getting lost. And in my ideal-ideal dream, of course, I should be eating out in lovely restaurants every day, mainly fish, with a dash of lemon (freshly squirted when deposited on the table in front of me, thank you very much) and fresh chopped garlic and parsley sprinkled on top. This is my goal, the recognition and acceptance, by me, of me as a working artist, a self-sufficient artist and writer.
So, no. What I am doing today is training and polishing my craft, my tools. This really is learning how much I want all of this because this morning I didn’t open the laptop and I had to force myself to come out. Still, the sheer joy now that I am here, and my mind is bombarded by different ideas and flavours and thoughts. I have written more than one blog, yesterday, so I acknowledge my desire not to write today because I have already banked extra words I can use. But this is not the point. The point is to do it every day. Every single day. And then: this idea of the adventure! I feel tired just by thinking of grabbing my bag and walking in the sun along the canal into town for a coffee and then the ritual of observing very awkward moments. I might not become a writer, but boy I’ll learn a thing or two from what I see! Especially, what not to wear…
Anyway, back to the art discussion. Art or not Art. I do not believe that art and craft are interchangeable. I believe that they are two different and complementary aspects. Some people are born artists, others are born crafters, others aspire to be at least one of them. Some people create nice objects or paint nice sceneries (I’m using nice on purpose) but those cannot be defined as art by default. Last year at college I have been taught that anything can be art, and that anyone can be an artist. I am wondering if this is because of a need of all-inclusivity. Don’t get me wrong: any one is allowed to create. No, not true: any one should try and create. Creativity is paramount in life. Anyone should be free and entitled and encouraged to sit and write, and paint, and draw, and sculpture. Any One with no distinctions. But that doesn’t make them artists. They can be teacher, plumbers, drivers, clerks, managers or anything who also create, write, make, paint, or draw.
“You don’t need anybody’s permission to live a creative a life”. The earliest evidence of recognizable human art is forty thousand years old. The earliest evidence of human agriculture, by contrast, is only ten thousand years old. Which means that somewhere in our collective evolutionary story, we decided it was way more important to make attractive, superfluous items than it was to learn how to regularly feed ourselves. […] Some of the art that people have created across the centuries is absolutely sublime, and probably did emerge from a grand sense of seriousness and sacredness, but a lot of it didn’t. A lot of it is just folks messing around for their own diversion—making their pottery a little prettier, or building a nicer chair, or drawing penises on walls to pass the time. And that’s fine, too. You want to write a book? Make a song? Direct a movie? Decorate pottery? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. Who cares? It’s your birth-right as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart.” [E. Gilbert, Big Magic]
So, please. Go and create and make stuff. But that doesn’t mean that it is art.
Because some is shit.
During this past year at almost every exhibition I went to two main themes came up: mental health and gender. In both instances, you couldn’t have missed the personal input of the artist. To me, that is also not art. This is what I would call show and tell: you go, find something you are interested in or find something that bothers you and use that as your topic, and then make it yours, do some research, and create something on it.
Show and tell, more of a school research. Look at me: I’m interested in mental health because I feel depressed and anxious and so I go to the library or on Google, I do some research, I find a couple of artists I like who suffered from depression and anxiety and then I make a painting / drawing / banner / poster / garment / pot / take a picture where I tell you exactly what I feel and mean and wanted to express.
As a therapist, I would also argue that depression and anxiety are not really belonging to the class of mental health: that’s emotional vulnerability. I am so tired of people using the wrong words! And regarding gender: I am weary of people expressing their sexual preferences in any topic of conversation because I am really not interested in what people do in their bedrooms. Gender is not just sexuality and I find that too many a times exhibitions about gender are actually exhibitioning of sexuality.
Please, I do understand the struggle that some people go through. My comments here have nothing to do with rights or conditioning or judgments regarding the topic of gender or sexuality. Anyone is free to do whatever they want and should be free (or free to fight) to be able to express who they are. I am commenting regarding the sheer amount of gender topics (and mental health) in art. What about art just for the sake of art itself? What about art about politics? What about art about beauty?
Exhibiting and being an exhibitionist are two very different things.
I think that art should transcend the personal. It should be like poetry: using simile and metaphors of what is going on in the artist’s mind, soul and heart. Then, the artist should be good enough to take a step back and leave the piece to talk about the topic, and not about the artist. But maybe that's just me.
I like beauty, aesthetics, and style. And in this shitty Northern town, there’s none to be seen.
This craft of mine intrigues me and makes the world clearer, to me. I felt way more confused last week about the direction my life was following while now it feels like I know where I am heading. No, it’s not even that: now I know what to do to make me happy. How this will end, how I will survive financially and if I will ever land a job that involves writing and making art, I don’t know. But let me clarify one thing here, re. the money-wise.
I did not stop working: work died out because it is summer, and it is a physiological pattern that happens every year. I haven’t decided to start writing and turn my life around now that I have money aside that allows me to live the life I have always wanted: there’s no money aside. Just the usual money coming in, the sun shining, and a good pair of shoes. Nothing in my life has changed, but me. I was the one waiting, praying and begging for things to change until I realised that only I can change me first and then things will change automatically. I could stay at home being depressed and bored, watching tv. Or I could stay home and write wishing I were somewhere else, living the adventurous life. Or I could leave the house and go somewhere else and write. It is entirely up to me. Escentéa unfortunately doesn’t offer quiet places to sit and write. The library is one of the noisiest (and dirtiest) places I have ever been to where there is no respect what-so-ever for other people who would like to sit and read or write. Literally, Escentéa offers nothing but the same shops as everywhere else, same bookmakers, same chippies, same takeaways, same closed shops, closed down restaurants, tacky charity shops, dirt and litter and spitting and shouting. What’s with people shouting all the time? It feels like they are possessed by a demon on crack.
The idealistic me who would like to live in an orderly, clean, silent and peaceful world is smacked in the face by reality, smacked hard.
Hence, there is only one thing to do. And that is to write.
(c) mtomat 2019 - written on 03.07.19 - no reproduction without permission.
ShittyNorthernTown > sNt > Escentéa
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