OUR COLUMNIST MIKE SAYS:
‘Perhaps it’s a sign of your improved mental wellbeing, but I felt your writing has been becoming more critical and pointed and less outraged and emotional. Sculpturesteph, as usual, is right on the mark. I only wonder that you didn’t get bored sooner. I would suggest that you need to think of your audience in this decision. The marketed Art Market is not art, representative of artists, or serving the purposes that art can and should serve in our world.
I suggest you go and review some shows in smaller venues such as Frome in the West Country or Ispwich in Suffolk and compare them with the big name shows in London to see what comes up in terms of conceptual starting points, artist’s intentions, audience reception and formal execution. I think this might be very enlightening for everyone involved as well as reminding yourself and others that there are many manifestation of this idea called art, and it serves manifold purposes.
Second, on a personal note, I coincidentally came across this blog at a time when I was going through a work crisis of my own. My family had moved from one country to another and I was once a full time art professor and artist and now am a full time at home childminder and housekeeper with three soon to be four children and still a full time artist. I thought of a PhD in studio art but then after a year of throwing that about, thought it a nonsense. Artists make art; they don’t primarily write about making art.
After another year of learning to manage my time and mental energy I got back into art making with a great effort of will and began working in earnest once again. My problem became what was I working for? Why was I bothering? How do I address the commercial aspects of being an artist with barely enough time to even make work?
Then I first read your blog. This immediately touched on something I have always believed and felt you had confirmed. Art is about people communicating to people about issues that are part of the community in which you live. Anything else is false and working towards sales and not art. The main focus of my work has always been trying to figure how to connect with the people who will experience my work. My current body of work is exactly that. Images of Others who are only half visible due to the countless distractions of our lives from all manner of sources. This touches on issues of politics, international relations, history, art, community and I guess human existence today. As you rightly observe, we are become more atomised and less connected, even with the “social media” revolution.
In short, your energy and effort to tackle this falseness of the Art Market by pointing out what does not work as art and why it does not work has inspired me to continue struggling to find the imagery and show the work that may help some others perhaps rethink why they value real unmediated human connection more.
I also believe that the efforts of the individual can make a difference and are essential to making a shift in how a society conducts itself.
I am happy to hear you seem to be mending, and I hope to read more of your thoughts on art, the Art Market and anything else. It’s not often I bother to codify my thoughts into text, but, in my opinion, your efforts demand equal effort.
So, thank you.’