What I am not… an Artist
1.) a person who practices or is skilled in an art, e.g. painting, drawing, or sculpture
2.) a person who displays in his or her work qualities required in art, such as sensibility and imagination
“is skilled in art”? “qualities required in art”? AND… “painting, drawing, or sculpture”? Creativity comes in so many ways, so, why even try to give antiquated examples. Sounds very limited to me.
These are historical “aspirations” which denotes that some people are simply more creative than others and their visual creations are a) worthy of creation itself, and b) that their visual creations are/would be worthy of earning admiration from others. So unfair.
What really happens…
I paint. I get all up in there yo. I have intimate communication with my paintings, and yes, they argue at times, fool me, and sometimes downright lie. Once in a while it is a pleasant conversation from beginning to end. When I paint the whole world goes away. I do not know how or why this happens but towards the end of each painting it is able to tell me exactly what to do to complete it. Before completion they sometimes tell me to use sandpaper, wire, razor blades, squeegees, mops, anything in that moment. I am a tool to make it happen. When a painting is done it is no longer mine. It is itself and it is done with me.
Most people experience the world with all senses from waking to sleeping. Some of us are in need of getting the resulting thoughts out of our heads to see them, feel them, and experience them to understand them.
A small book really inspired me… don’t recall the title… I recall that it was small. Each page illustrated visual creations that were made in some of the most brutal prisons in the world. Brick dust, saliva, fingers, scratching, making picture planes out of found and collected fiber. This was decades ago. I found the book in a library in Boston, evidently lost behind larger books and forgotten. I slowly flipped each page and stared, some of the pieces were created in a Turkish prison for example. At that time cells had dirt floors and not enough height to stand fully. I imagined the level of inspiration required for someone to painfully, with long-term dedication, put the components together to visually create what was in their head.
Yes, I went to college to study art. It offered suggestions of tools to use and technical ways to use mediums. Suggestions usually incorporated the “right” and the “wrong” ways of obtaining the visual goal. I refer back to the small book I found. What is an artist? What is right? What is wrong? If spattering of pigeon feces baked into a sidewalk under the hot sun in Brooklyn catches your eye, is it not that communication that happens? Maybe worthy of a camera to capture what about it caught the person’s eye? Blown up in black and white and framed… could be stunning! Art school did not teach me that and is that even something to be taught? It just happens to everyone from waking to sleeping in my very humble opinion.
Am I talkin’ smack?
Yeah, a little. Why do I have this page displaying my paintings? What’s up with that!? Well, they came out of my head and shows more of who I am, conversation starters if you will. I got into a conversation with a good friend of mine, Veronica. It came up that she took pictures. I asked to see them, and wow! It showed part of what came out of her head with moods, feelings, and deep thoughts. It is an intimate moment for two to share that part of themselves, a kind of vulnerability and trust. Galleries are the antithesis of that intimacy. They are product based and all about the “me” in the choice of who to display and when and why, more a reflection of the gallery and possibly exploitation? My conversation with Veronica was the total opposite as it happened organically and was beneficial to both of us. Rather than having strangers, basically, look at your mind, your thoughts, displayed in a gallery, Veronica and I took each other out of our own heads just for that moment voluntarily. It is an act of trust and inspires to keep doing what I suggested previously… getting thoughts out of your head to to see them, feel them, and experience them to understand them.