What is it about artists?
What is it about art?
There are times every week when I wonder what I do in the scheme of things and wonder about the “grand scheme” and if there is one, where does this aspiration to be an artist and running an art space – Jugglers Art Space – fit.
A friend of mine’s first response to this work was that it was cute. It is a work of mine that I ended up selling at last year’s “Response to River” event at The Shed at Hamilton Northshore. What does cute mean? Why did she think it was cute? What made it cute? A first impression and then another more reflective look and conversation might turn up some new understanding of the work leading to a revised critique, or not.
So is this piece cute? What is the first response of viewers to this piece and it prices it at over $200,000? My view is that it is the artist [William Kentridge] and the representative agency. The modality, theme and size are perhaps insignificant here but Kentridge’s massive body of work and standing internationally frame the impact. The price is inconsequential. And there is an obvious passion for art in this artist. My cute art is cute rather than arresting precisely because the passion is still to be born. If there is no constancy in art then the art will be “still-born.”
Passion for art comes from doing art over and over and over and then doing it some more. The waiting for inspiration probably means someone else will do their art on my coffin.
At a recent South Bank [Brisbane] TAFE Dip of Fine Art Graduating Class Exhibition I gave a short speech on art as essential. As someone has said: “When we dilute or delete arts programs, we unravel the infrastructure that assures the cultural future of the nation.” A boring deductive speech does nothing to help the intent “stick in the throat” so I dressed and redressed with due decorum to deliver at least a memorable beginning in the guise of the Juggler. And life for an artist is a juggling dance, a twisting pirouette in a fog with no-one watching!
“Graduates – whether you sneak out onto the world’s stage or rush out flamboyantly you are artists and you are essential. You are not doctors, accountants, lawyers, project managers or engineers but artists and as artists you are essential. Essential for the growth and depth of our society in this and every era.
Artists are cool, weird, poor, fun, eccentric, introverted, extroverted, innovative, rich, depressed, happy and ESSENTIAL and to be essential we can only be convincing if we are passionate. Passion is everything!
Passion is deep, felt and experienced in all kinds of ways by all kind of temperaments.
You know you’ve got passion when you have this sense of being carried.
You know others have passion when they seem carried.
Doing art constantly is the path to passion and change.
There is a young artist who graduated from this institution [TAFE] who is passionate and is followed by thousands around the world, a friend and supporter of Jugglers and an artist who “does art”. Sofles [Russell Fenn] is a graffiti artist of exceptional natural skill and a passionate art practitioner whose work is a conduit for renewal in this contemporary art form, this frontier of new art in the 21st century.
The challenges with passion and doing art are the extraneous diversions: Expenses, income, sales, studio space, exhibitions, relationships, representation, moods, ideas. How we manage those accoutrements will be yours to manage but manage them you must at great cost sometimes.
The last is this: If you are going to be passionate practising artists essential for the growth and depth of our society – no pressure!! – then you will need one thing: You will need to determine to make the search for beauty a commitment until the end of days. Not glamour and superficiality and productivity but beauty. Set you heart and mind to search for, find, experience and represent beauty. If this is your core focus and intent then passionate art and art in passion and passion following art will carry you, carry us. We will always need skill refinement and refine our practice to find our own modalities but pursuing beauty in all its illusive,silent, loud, monochrome and colour filled expressions is the mysterious spiritual formational framework for a satisfying life as an artist and as an influencer on the deepening of a more reflective society.