Reflections and Beauty
An artist's job or an artist's role can be defined in a number of ways. Primarily I'm concerned with two defining factors. The first being, that an artist in order to contribute to history, should make work that references the age in which the artist lives. An artist should hold a mirror up to the world around him or her and comment upon the reflection.
Having lived through the latter half of the 20th century and now into the 21st-century one of the biggest transitions in my life has been the technological evolution from an analog foundation to a digital platform. My youth was spent without computers or mobile phones yet the transition to them being such a vital part of my life seemed effortless and mandatory. Only now as our world becomes touchscreen dependent do I reminisce upon the buttons I used to push. Perhaps I will miss pushing buttons when they are all gone? Perhaps in the push of a button there was something more tangible than the brushing of a touchscreen. Though buttons to me also suggest the en masse world in which we currently live. They are made in factories in their hundreds of thousands they are not unique, they are not special. And now these buttons are relics of an analog age. Perhaps I draw a parallel between discarded analog devices and my own mortality. For I too one day will become discarded and irrelevant, just as my once treasured Sony Walkman was reverentially discarded.
The second role an artists can perform and a role that I believe is far more difficult is to make something simply beautiful.
Regardless of its context and regardless of its comment on the society the artist lives in. If you can capture true beauty it will live forever, because true beauty is hard to destroy. And Beauty can come in many forms. There can be beauty in sadness. There can be beauty in ugliness. Beauty can be confronting and beauty can be sublime. Beauty can be merely the manifestation of a thought.
As an artist the defining challenge is to combine these two factors, societies reflection and true beauty. I have had varying successes and enumerous failures at creating reflections and beauty. And I charged myself as an artist with this decree.
So what do I think about our global society?
While not bowled over with humanities desire to multiply at all and any cost to mother earth, its hard to not find affection for the innocence of an infant.
I do not find an abundance of integrity at the foundation of economical and sometimes even social interactions. But still I treasure interactions with others more than any possession I have. So while I believe humanities lack of self awareness and integrity overwhelms our current age that still doesn't mean that beauty cant be found.
So if I am living in an age that lacks integrity surely my art should too ?
My work is digital for one that in itself, in the eyes of some, lacks the integrity of pen or ink on paper, or oil on canvas or a 3dimensional real world sculpture. The latter something my art has been recently confused for. Although perhaps during a crisis of confidence I will embark on these sculptural works and denounce all digital art.
I use not my own iconography, people I know or I have met. My work uses images of human or artistic icons I did not create. These icons or artistic creations became popular or successful on their own merits. As an artist I am reappropriating that merit.
I do so using software I did not create and a lot of my work has never even been printed on paper, they exist only as digital media. And while these works lack integrity I will still endeavour to make each piece beautiful.
Works that are void of any beauty or reflections too me are less successful. And while I am not fearful of my lack of integrity, I am always fearful of creating something that lacks beauty.
Just as a foot note I also think artists talking about their own work are often misguided. Most artists become so entrenched, as I have, in their work they lack sufficient subjectivity to speak with any authority on what it is they are doing. So please disregard what you have read and draw your own conclusions as they are probably more accurate than mine.