I have a pretty specific thought with art that everyone, no matter race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any one despite other defining characteristics should be able to engage with an art work.
This is what my blog is about.
Helping and encouraging everyone to engage in discussion and conversation about art.
What I feel artists should try do with their art:
I believe that artists should produce work with the intention of stimulating something in people, or of provoking thought in the viewers.
As an artist I produce work but then if someone comes to me and asks me ‘What were you trying to say with this piece of work?’ I won’t say anything. I think artists should be confident in that they can produce work that speaks for them. Art is a method of communication and if it isn’t communicating something then the artist hasn’t done their job. I feel like achieving this outcome is incredibly easy and extremely hard to avoid achieving. What varies is the overtness of the message, and who the message really resonates with, and obviously what the message is.
While some artists’ work is very in your face with the message and you can’t help but get the message loud and clear, others will produce work that seems to require a knowledge of something, almost like they are talking in jargon. Either way is fine, but I think that no matter how people respond artists should NEVER EVER say something like “No, that’s not what I was saying”. I think If someone has got something that you didn’t mean to say with your art then one of three things may have happened:
- You haven’t thought the message through well enough to exclude any other message than what you intended.
- There are more messages than just what you are wanting to say depicted in the artwork which relates to different people.
- People have a different view of the subject that you are talking about and bring their own ideas into the reading of the work.
This theory isn’t a new one though. And this is what artists have been trying to do for years.
I have always believed that viewers are artists as well. Marcel Duchamp and other Dada artists talked about how “it is art because I say it is”.
For example: Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain.
It’s just a Urinal. Yes it is. In fact Marcel Duchamp literally went walking and ‘found’ this urinal and decided that he had something to say about the exhibitions that were so exclusive and restricted certain artists from exhibiting. He decided to enter this “fountain” into the exhibition signed by ‘R.Mutt, 1917’. (Marcel Duchamp already being known in the artist world). Clearly people were shocked and talk started about is this art? How shocking! Etc. To which Duchamp promptly wrote an article about R. Mutt addressing these issues. One of his lines that clearly summarises:
Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.
This is exactly what artists do, despite what media they work in. They are always (or should always be) taking an ordinary subject and changing its context or meaning to create a thought or feeling.
Even if it is a painting or photograph of something that has not been altered in any way, by taking the “thing” out of real life they are taking that “thing” out of context. and then when that “artwork” is then put in different places, an art gallery, a home, a public space, down low behind a toilet. The meaning keeps changing. So when reading an artwork everything can be taken into consideration. And when producing an artwork, and/or presenting an artwork everything should be considered, including when the artist has decided to present the work. Imagine something like Banksy’s “A killer whale jumping out of a toilet”
being located in the middle of a lush fertile garden in a time when there are loads of killer whales, and when we didn’t train animals to jump through hoops or keep them in circuses etc. The meaning would instantly change. Currently with this I read that about global warming and human’s insatiable need to crudely be entertained and have everything they want right now despite the future cost. If I was living in victorian times for example I would not get this same message,because I wouldn’t understand about global warming and how harmful this can be, I would have that knowledge. If it was in a garden I would read this more like look we can have our cake and eat it too and how wonderful and entertaining life is.
Its like the Colosseum back in the day. Everyone would go and watch people literally killing each other for sport, or trying to battle fierce creatures that they have no hope of beating. But at the colosseum made this type of behaviour or “sport” acceptable because of the context it was point in. Because of who was watching. Because of the time that it was done.
If we built a colosseum today (and in some ways we do, with, like, boxing and ultimate fighter or whatever) but if the point was to watch people die, you probably would get people going to watch but it would be hugely controversial. Or if you had a colosseum type setting set up, say, in the middle of a public place, or perhaps a children’s playground, this would mean something completely different, and people would react in a completely different way.
I dunno. We will continue. Feel free to add to this conversation. Any thoughts, any examples that you have found that really made you think in a certain way. Or just any comments you want to make. All welcome.
My blog is about this so we will get more specific down he track. And we will also move away from just talking about meaning in art work.
If you have any art that you would like me to talk about or review, please flick me an email with the picture in it.
Bye for now.