How many times have you heard someone say ‘Well I know nothing about art; I just know what I like’. It comes almost as an apology – as though somehow, we should understand and appreciate an art piece for what it is considered to be. We laugh at comedy sketches where people stand in front of blank canvases, talking about the deep-rooted angst of the artist and their interpretation of his work. That’s what art can be; it can be funny, or up-it’s-own-butt pretentious – but it can also evoke strong negative emotions, or awaken a nostalgia for something long forgotten. If it does anything for you, good or bad, hasn’t it done its job?
Art is a statement of who we are right now.
Art is incredibly important – it’s a living snapshot of our culture, era, mindset; and that importance is often lost in the hype that surrounds it. Many of our most creative artists have come from the peripherals of mainstream society, with a message and a way of communicating it which makes you stop and look (or listen, or touch) – and think. Without a love of ‘different’ or a respect for creativity, our view of the world would become dull and boring, fostering a reluctance to break the mould of what society deems artistically relevant. Art is…whatever it is to us, and that’s ok. We don’t have to work it out, just appreciate it. Whether you love or hate a piece, you are giving it your attention, and at the end of the day, that’s what art is for. ‘L’art pour l’art’.
I remember plonking myself down on the floor of the Gallery of Modern Art to paint a sketch of a tired old doggy made entirely of leather boots. It was a picture I was painting for a friend who said the dog always brought him a smile. I heard tuts from would-be critics for my irreverence (Ok so I had my boots off and was pretty comfy) but the gentleman who worked there actually came over as I was getting heckled and smiled. ‘That’s what it’s all about hen’, he whispered. I think that’s the point.S