I read recently that a trade was when the person uses their hands, a craft is when they use their hands and mind and an art employs the hands, mind and heart. For an artist it is not enough to merely imitate through technique or process but there is also an immersion into what that subject is and what it means. It is also said that an artist is a by product of the culture and those forces are interjected into their art which tells a story about society at that time.
What will our society look like as perceived through an artist’s eyes to an observer fifty years from now – or even twenty-five? There are hints right now as to what may be coming. A recent conversation revealed to me that there is a good bit of conversation among the artist community about the recent art “pour” movement and how anyone can do it…and they are selling. This comment came about while discussing whether artists should be adept at drawing first in order to create great works of art – basically one end of the gamut to the other.
Those who have studied the masters and who come from a more formalized approach to the arts believe that indeed an artist should be informed about the technicality of drawing and seeing their subjects before they embark on to the painting arena. The traditionalists have always relied on perspective accuracy and spacial elements so important to composition. These tried and true technical aspects of art will always be at the fore…like learning to read notes in music and then you can go play your heart out.
A while back when the Abstract movement barreled onto the art scene people were alarmed and shocked that this kind of imagery would ever be considered art, and yet it sold. Abstract art gave the avant-garde the opportunity to devise in words the expression sought by the artist and the stories were endless because no one really knew what the artist was saying, or not saying. It was all so mysterious and collectors loved that so they could infuse their own translation into the mix and make it opportunity specific.
The recent addition of “pours” to the art scene is nothing new. Artists have been manipulating paint by as many means as there are artists, only now the world of art is open to anyone willing to open a can of paint. Those who want to keep art at a level of intrigue and high prices – other than those works actually created by the greats – are at a loss as to how to compartmentalize this new wave of creativity.
So, if an artist uses their hands, head and heart what does it matter how that message is translated? Is art such only if it ascribes to a certain genre of principal or is art anything that is created from the heart? Is art something that is beautiful? Does art mean something that is useful and beautiful? Or does art mean something something beautiful, useful and meaningful?
No matter the question, art still remains in the eye of the beholder, whether that be the artist or the buyer. Those pours that are becoming the latest rage are a blast to create. Even a novice to art can make something beautiful that someone else may well want to buy. Then, does that make that novice an artist? I say yes, just like getting paid for a story makes someone a writer.
The art novice is just as excited about creating that pour as the fine artist is about creating that highly representational painting. It is even likely that the novice is more excited because this is new territory to explore and no one knows what will be revealed. Furthermore the novice is not impeded by what should and should not be done. It is a journey of the heart. If it turns out well it is a very joyful heartfelt experience that no amount of money can replicate.
Everyone should grab three colors of paint and pour like maniacs. Choose your three favorite colors, choose you favorite support…board, clay, paper, whatever…make your paint thick or thin, use your fingers, invent your own paint push toy once that paint is poured. Pour from the heart. What joy to make a mess and yet have made a statement.
Time changes everything, even how we approach art. Perhaps when others look back on our art scene they will see how we went from thinking we knew the order of society and faithfully representing all that we saw to realizing that there is much chaos in our world. We must pull away and let our intentions flow from distress and fear towards something seemingly with no purpose and yet present with a calming sense of beauty and meaning. There’s heart in that and what we need right now more than ever, is heart.