The act of making art I find to be an interesting decision many of us choose to make. What thing in us is compelled to develop an idea or concept and then develop the specific skills to create it in the material world? We have been taught from the earliest of ages to use words and sounds to communicate both our survival needs as well as our developmental needs. As a child it appears that when words become no longer sufficient we turn to other ways to express ourselves to communicate with others.
The way of art moves beyond words to symbols, representations and primal bursts that evolve from a deeper place of need. While putting a brush to paper or canvas seems like a simple act [as well as all other ways of making things], the layers of meaning begin when we decide to participate in this form of communication. How do I say in visual terms what this or that means to me and I can’t say in words? How deeply do I feel about this thing that I want to convey? A whole onslaught of factors emerge in unison and drives the creative process to fruition.
The commitment to develop specific disciplines enables us to channel this potent energy and allow for the essence of our personalities to surface and fly free. The need that we have to create and communicate now has a means of expression but it is then that the real work begins. Many will say that Outsider or Naïve work circumvents this requirement to develop skills but if looked at closer the same skills are present but within an alternative vocabulary. We choose for ourselves the vocabulary that aligns closest to who we are as individuals and then consciously or unconsciously develop the means to express that.
All of this is said to highlight what I view as absolutes in the process to produce relevant and compelling work. I love happening upon ‘special’ pieces and special artists. It is like finding gold amongst the mass of offerings filling the white box environments all over America and the world. Some might say, ‘what you think is a special piece can be totally different than what I think is a special piece.’ This is absolutely true but the criteria that we use are universal whether it is instinctive or arrived at through personal studies. I have described some of them above and how the possibility of making extraordinary things even exists.
The thing that I recognize in myself at this place in time is that whenever I visit an artist’s studio or happen to go to an exhibit or whatever I unconsciously look for those works that rise above the norm. The art environment and market is such that we now have the appearance of art and authentic soul containing art. There is public consumption for both as an outcome of astute marketing and status quo pressures of owning certain things in a collection. I need to make the point that what I consider special pieces does not mean gimmicky, overly slick, academic or highly accepted works. It might emerge from this but it can be the elegance of a simple line; the depth of shapes and color relationships that are pure instinctive. The thing is that once you have saturated the eye with thousands and thousands of works we absolutely know it when we see it. As artists and as collectors, the time is here when the bar should be raised and we quickly eliminate the marginal and encourage and support what strikes a chord within is.
Saying ,’go paint me a picture’ takes on new meaning for the artist and I will say to the collectors, ‘find the artists that you resonate and connect with; the ones who are special to you and make it a priority to support and reward them and when possible to carry on your backs.’ It can mean more than you can know for an artist.This is what makes the art world go round and to be genuinely sustainable now and for future generations.