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An Overcrowded Modern Art Field

May 9th, 2019

Is art a worthwhile hobby or career in the modern age? I suppose there is an argument that anything you enjoy doing is worthwhile even if no other humans exist. So there is that! But are you wasting your time doing it with the hope of becoming a KNOWN artist? It seems each year there are more and more people engaged in the arts, especially painting, dance, movies, and modern music. Although Poetry seems each year to be on the down-slide and maybe some forms of craft art are getting rarer (Tatting and such). Or maybe I just don't get out enough. I don't live in a big city. The market is indeed over-saturated with art. It is everywhere now. When I was young there were very few people in my vicinity engaged in any form of art! Now each family seems to have a budding artist! I was the only abstract artist I knew for most of my youth. Now there are three or four in my family alone. And with the advent of the internet, there are hundreds of sites selling art of various kinds. Artists have come out of the woodwork and are now a dime a dozen. It is hard to feel you are anything special as an artist because of this. Maybe humans are becoming more right-brained? I think they are. I know I see more and more left-handed people in my environment and we all know that left-handed people tend to be artsier. Maybe there are simply too many people on Earth and over-saturation was bound to happen. I don’t know, but I find it frustrating that modern painting just isn’t as special as it once was.

Modern Poetry is an Art Form

April 20th, 2019

Modern poetry is a form of art that is almost as varied as the different styles of modern art painting. Just as in modern art painting, poetry is liked by some and disliked by others. As well, some people only like certain varieties of poetry, just as they only like certain varieties of modern art painting. I am both a modern or abstract poet and a modern artist. Certainly, I don’t like everything produced in the modern art or modern poetry genres. I don’t care for many of the older classical forms of art or poetry as well. It takes some effort to enjoy poetry, period, just as in enjoying abstract or modern art of any kind. You cannot dismiss it right away as junk. I routinely take a free poetry class when I can find them online. Many are quite good! This keeps me in touch with poetry styles, techniques I can use myself and gives me a feeling that I am not alone in my likes. Just like viewing a modern art painting you have to read a poem, of any style, multiple times to get more out of it. Even then, many people simply can’t get “into” it and find they cannot even complete the poem (unless it’s very short). I have read many famous long poems and never made it to the end. Don’t give up. Walt Whitman sometimes seems to go on forever! Look at modern poetry as a challenge to find the meaning it has for you. Read each line slower and multiple times and enjoy the beauty of language itself, or word placement, if nothing else. Sometimes you won’t get anything out of it and can’t tell what the artist was doing (believe me, sometimes the artist didn’t know either). It is an art form just like painting and one that should not be dismissed so easily.

Mixed Media Art

April 12th, 2019

Mixed Media Art

I gravitate toward mixed media art. What is mixed media art? It is a work of art where more than one medium has been used. Collages are the most well-known form. But an artist can use various materials on canvas, board, wood or heavy art paper. I have used, in various works, cloth, wax, dirt, rubber, paper cutouts, eggshell, oil, acrylic, pencil, crayon, ink, pastel, string, gel mediums, and duct tape. I tend to get bored easily! Even if you compose and create a work of art that doesn’t use any heavy material, but uses just pencil, acrylic and ink, you technically have a mixed media piece. The only real danger is you may end up with a work that is too heavy and may start to rip or pull apart when hung vertically, or a work that can’t be easily shipped to a buyer or framed. I try to keep my mixed media art as flat as possible and not really large. I want my viewers to get a sense of depth in my art, a feeling maybe or at least an interest that stops them. Mixed media can do this. There is nothing like the joy of opening up your art world to all of the possibilities inherent in using different materials to create. If you are an abstract artist like me, you won’t look back.

Art is not for the Competitor

April 7th, 2019

One of the reasons I enjoy participating in art is that it is non-competitive. I am very against competitiveness in society. Really, I see little use for it in molding great human beings. Of course I can see one arguing that it helps make progress in some fashion, but for the most part, progress surely can be had without it. It is up to people to WANT progress merely because it will help all of us and not because they are competing, or a capitalist. I know, I know, it will never happen, but one can dream of a better civilization. There are very few competitive artists. Our personalities are just not that type. We are trying to dig deeper into our own brains to create something that satisfies a deep itch. We are mostly doing it for ourselves. A craftsman is different in some ways and maybe I will do a piece on that later. Artists such as abstract painters, sculptors, modern writers, poets, movie makers and songwriters (etc.) are mostly interested in achieving something that makes them feel good, even if they are the only ones who ever see the artwork. Remarkable artists in the modern age are driven to create and not driven to make sales. Some of the most unique and interest films ever made didn't make any money. Some of the most interesting and thought-provoking books made few sales. How many people know poets that make any decent money, or even ANY money! Art is a known non-competitive field when you are at home alone working out your ideas. There are aspects in art that are competitive, such as that one architect looking to win a contest for a contract. But of what I speak are the areas of creating art that is not, “so you can make a living.” Real art is created in the lonely dark quiet spaces of basements, dens, and bedrooms when the creative juices are flowing out of you alone and with you alone.

Would You Like Your Art to Survive You?

April 4th, 2019

Do you care if your artwork survives you? I was contemplating this the other day. Do I feel like I am painting or photographing or writing because I want my stuff to survive me and say, “I was here and I was a thinking person.” In a sense I do because it seems a waste to create all of this artistic output and have it not go on long after you are dead. It is one of the few ways that you will “survive” after death. But the ironic part is, of course, you simply will not know if your art survives or is tossed by your children. There is plenty of art to be found in garbage dumps. There are millions of written novel pages that are in trash bags. It takes some doing to convince yourself that you are creating art for the here and now and whatever happens after you die, so be it. We all want a bit of fame. The beauty of art is relative anyway. Your type of art may not ever be in style and subject to disposal soon after your death. Picasso did thousands of drawings some of which surely were disposed of, perhaps accidentally or perhaps by some old man who thought it was rubbish. Really should one worry about such things? Being human we cannot help but wonder. It is better to just create your art because you NEED to. I do it because I feel this deep need, but a small part of me would still like it to carry on past my death.

Techniques of the Abstract Artist

April 3rd, 2019

I have been viewing abstract art videos on YouTube to gleam what I can of techniques people are using to create their mini-masterpieces. Someone is always coming up with some technique to lay paint on paper that I had not thought of. That is so cool! I learn something each time. Some of the older work I did years ago still impresses me and I literally have no idea how I did the piece! I was into (and still am) using string, paper, egg shells, dirt, yarn, old doll hair, fabric, plastic and media gels of all sorts. My interest seems to constantly go back to having elements of organization in a work as well as elements of chaos. I have always been fascinated by the order of chaos! Free-form painting where you just simply let your emotions and swaying take over the brush can create some interesting lines and shapes. It is not as silly as it seems. People without an art ability cannot do it well even though it sounds simplistic. Most people are operating too much in the real world. Watching the modern art videos of others makes me feel there is a group out there that will “understand.” It is not about just slapping paint in a canvas.

Slowing Down the Process

April 1st, 2019

I have slowed down my process of thinking on what art to do next and actually doing the art. For my next potential series of paintings, I will age art paper out in my yard for several weeks until I feel satisfied nature has contributed to the art. Then I will draw, mostly in black and white (or blank space) what comes to mind when I lay the paper out and examine what I feel it needs me to contribute. These works will take a long time to complete, up to a year, I predict, so I will either have several going at once or just take that long to complete one and then move on to another. They will not be cheap paintings to buy as the time factor in doing them will be massive. It will be up to the user to frame them.

In my poetry (I am also a poet-hobbyist) I will try to slow down as well and do more extensive editing before calling a poem complete. My mind tends to go way faster than I can write or compose. Poetry is hard to complete because each time you read it you want to change something. It is tempting but the poet must have some self-control. Painting can be the same way. I have walked by my paintings in my own house and on occasion added a mark here or there. All my art is living art!

I have had an idea on occasion to hang a blank canvas on a wall and let any visitors draw on it as they may, adding to it for years. It would be interesting to see a work like this which had multiple hands molding it after 10 years’ time. What would it tell us about the people who created it? Would it be a kind of therapy?

A Thought on Critically Viewing Art

March 29th, 2019

On first thought I was going to make this blog for displaying some of my artwork only and discussing it. But my interest in art is a little overwhelming and so I find myself wanting to write about it also.

I was thinking, what is an art critic? Of course it is a person who supposedly looks at a piece of art and makes some judgment, good or bad, on it. They then proceed to write about it in magazines, journals, newspapers or books. However, the criticism is obviously their opinion. They may mention techniques used in a work and sometimes that is interesting. But as for the final judgment on a work's "goodness" or "importance", it is basically all opinion. I hate to say it, but no paid critic is of any more importance than you or I, in judging a work of art. This is especially true in these modern times when there are literally thousands of modern artists who seem to be onto something. In addition, there are thousands of traditional artists indulging in wildlife, portrait, scenic or still life art. In fact there are so many good artists that it is overwhelming to even be a part of it.

So I will be ignoring critics for the most part in my dialog and talk some about my own opinions of things in art. Hey, I've been to world famous galleries and museums and looked at paintings that I felt were no better than what I do. Many were worse. Some pieces are obviously portrayed differently than they truly "are". It may have been a matter of who kissed who's butt or threw enough good parties with socialites. I'm not saying I wouldn’t want my works to be shown in galleries, because I do want that deep down. But, truthfully I do not want to get involved in politics to do it. Will I ever be shown in a gallery of any repute? Probably not.

Piet Mondrian

March 29th, 2019

Piet Mondrian

Below are direct quotes from the paper, “Mentalism and Mechanism, the twin modes of human cognition”, by Christopher Badcock PhD., Reader in Sociology, University of London. It was an article commissioned to appear in the book, “Human Nature and Social Values: Implications of Evolutionary Psychology for Public Policy”, edited by Charles Crawford & Catherine Salmon (Erlbaum, 2003).

“Recent research on the abstract art of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) who claimed that elements of his compositions were critically placed for aesthetic effect suggest that, on the contrary, subjects (experts included) are unable to pick up real Mondrians from others randomly generated by a computer (Taylor, 2002). Much so-called 'conceptual art' appears to rely similarly on the mental attitude of the spectator more than it does on the intrinsic qualities of the object in question, and this is the reason I suggest that all such non-representational, non-realist art be regarded as essentially mentalistic.”

“The appreciation of literature relies fundamentally on mentalistic skills, and particularly on theory of mind to represent reality by purely representational and figurative means. Aesthetic values in general are highly subjective. Beauty notoriously lies in the eye – or perhaps we should say mind – of the beholder, and what one person regards as 'artistic' or aesthetically pleasing may just as easily seem ugly or prosaic to another. (For example, painted depictions of nudes are usually regarded as 'art', whereas photographic depictions of the same models could just as easily be seen as examples of erotica – or even pornography.)”

The following are my comments. It seems somewhat funny that Mondrian tried to make it seem like his placement of elements was on purpose for aesthetic reason. This sounds like your typical non-representational artist B.S.! Apparently if he had just randomly painted the same shapes and colors, his art would have been just as well liked. I think it was more his unique style that caught people's eye and not the placement of each part of the painting. You do have to admit he had a unique style. Of course abstract art is mentalistic! Its what I and most have been saying all along. One person may love an abstract piece and the next person hate it even if both people love abstract art. And neither person can really ever fully describe why they like it or hate it! It generally is not a mechanistic thing as you aren’t looking at it like you are figuring out a math equation but somewhat taking in the entire visual of it at once in an unexplained manor.

A little more...

March 29th, 2019

I am prone to long break times. Or maybe those were “thinking” times. I began drawing and painting as a 12-year-old and continued that as my main hobby until I was around 25. Even back then I was more into abstract art and found typical art relatively boring. I probably should have gone to college for art but the practical side of me (and my family) disallowed this. That was probably a mistake on hindsight. My extreme introvert-ness did not help either. I stopped doing any painting sometime around 30 and got involved in photography, owning many cameras, until maybe 45. Then I got the painting bug again, took a local art society class and produced most of the works you now see on this site. I was still doing photography too. Around 51 years old I dropped doing any form of art, painting, drawing or photography. As an artist you get to a point sometimes where you are wondering, “What is the point?”, or you just get a type of boredom with the whole process, I think. I have delved into poetry reading and writing since I was maybe 10 years old and with little interruption, I have maintained an interest this whole time. Poetry is really the backbone of all I think about art, holding up the entire process. It is what I return to when I need a lift or other forms of art are not interesting me enough. I am back painting \ drawing now and hopefully it will keep up. I have some new ideas to try.