Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking About Art Is Like A Dog Chasing His Tail.

Every month I gather a few pontificating artists to share their work and thoughts. This group has swelled at times to more than twenty and at the best times has gone down to about a litter of six or eight. The rules are simple: bring your own art and your own bottle if, you like libations. We usually rotate the venue. So every one can compare and learn the inner workings of each studio. In the beginning it was a few hours of sharing work and giving kudos. Once in a while you would get challenged or help in a certain direction if you asked. It was a way to get myself out of the studio and see what was going on with other artists in my area.

When the litter got smaller and the runts left, I wanted more than sharing, I wanted answers. So now the format is: the first half we share, and the second half we converse on a pre-defined subject. Last weeks subject was “production art.” The meat of the topic basically covered how much of the work do you have to make to call it your own. For better or worse Kostabi, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst aren’t on my email list. The conversation goes around with the debating between painters and sculptors. Plein air artists and photo realists. Then the details come out. Do you have to mix your own paints, or smelt your own metals? Oh, that brought up the concept of a craftsman or a designer. Yet, craftsmen have the image of just a trade with no thought while designers are thought to have ideas yet lack the capability to actually make it. Is it the hybrid that creates a true artist? Yikes, what is a true artist? Someone who makes their living on their art? What happens if you paint a pleasant little cottage with their lights on and an inviting path leading to the door? Are you a craftsman with no thought? Or are you a brilliant designer that figured out what a bunch of people wanted? I’m dizzy and its late, the dog has already fallen asleep. Did she realize she couldn’t catch her tail? Wait…she whimpers and her legs are running in place. I think she is dreaming about a squirrel. I think I’ll dream about every room having a sofa and big walls. 

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