Once the product of art is negated, well then threat of painting and art’s death due to greater methods of production is no longer a factor. The product is the artist. Let the first fire burn to ash and form a man. Let the stone wheel spin a child. Let aCampbell’s soup can pop open and spill out a tender moment in time that burns into memory.
Not gonna happen.
Painting – dead. Art – dead. Everything – done. These are the words that have been spouted, and now it appears in art all we have left are vestiges. Gallery shows, more about free drink and being seen than a real and lasting connection with a real work (which is a connection with the soul of an artist, not the work itself). The trading of art like so much frozen concentrated orange juice. The teaching of art, with it’s assembly line approach to training without any major focus at all on what the artist’s identity actually is and the method regarding how it is formed. The most important element of art (which is the development of the artist’s identity), left to the wind. Art without artists? No wonder the death of painting is an echoing thought in the hollow minds of those who rule the art world, or at least those who state such things with certainty. But that’s all it is, an echoing thought, a reverberating monochromatic formless thought bouncing around in a reflective state of nowhere. Because the echo is still bouncing, those without minds or eyes still accept. Show me a believer! Show me someone who truly believes in this death and I will pick that mind apart.
The only death there is here is the death of reason. And of a reason. I’ve discovered a purpose. To only be an artist. BE. Not necessarily focus directly on the byproduct of that state of being, which is the art and paintings. Which is easily equated to a waste byproduct no more glorious than cream of tartar or feces. It’s better than Feces, ok. But now the allusion to and use of feces in art makes some sense, doesn’t it? But still, it is a byproduct. To focus intensely but indirectly on the product. And directly on the self, through to the work. It transforms art from being a mirror into the soul, to a lens focusing the soul. If you think about this literally, then think about what a mirror does and what a lens can do. A mirror can reflect a dead image. A flat image, without depth, without meaning, uncaptured and only showing what is already shown, less truthfully than the real thing. A lens, in all it’s meaning, can alter focus, can alter vision, can assist in capture. Do I want capture or reflection? Reflection has it’s merit, and yet it can only show what I could not see. If I learn to see, what need do I have for reflection? This is a vain and ever present obsession of the world we are in, but I will not state this makes it criminal. It makes art a tool for seeing ourselves. I no longer seek to see my self through a reflection, nor will I render art as a tool for fear of what I know that leads to. I sought to see myself within myself, the only place where the truth without reflection resides. Now, my intent is capture. To find, see, and show the truth captured faithfully. To recreate rather than relfect.
Making art a tool for reflection is a misuse of art as a tool (which I have pointed out through Warhol etc., knowing the development of the use of tools, destroys the art and artist in the end) and as a whore for unfaithfully assisting to see within ourselves what we ourselves are only truly responsible for seeing, alone. I say unfaithfully because of the untrue nature of a reflection measured against the real thing. True capture is what I need to seek as an artist. Reflection may very well be the place of the viewer, but it is no place for me as an artist. I think the distinction between viewer and artist is both noteworthy and important. Oddly enough, and somehow not odd at all, an artist being faithful to no viewers cannot be more faithful to every viewer. Theirs is reflection, in seeing something outside of themselves. Mine is capture, in seeing something within myself to be shown.
What I see now in Warhol is the destruction of the product itself. He just could not fully imbue himself as the artist into his work whilst still making the necessary sacrifice of himself as the artist. He did that by undoing it, but could not both destroy and create. Rightly so, one foot before the other.
My aim now is to reestablish, at least for my self alone, the presence of the artist as the art. And I say for myself alone for this reason. As of right now, today, I’m not even sure there has been one reader on this blog. Not a single reader. I have yet to sell a work. I am nobody from nowhere in the art world. But I am the artist. Those failed factors will not be what decides my future in art. Shit, I didn’t have any money anyway. Most people don’t understand me when I talk about my fullest thoughts. What’s the difference? I must, absolutely must, execute who and what I am. There is no shell for me to crawl into, no canvas for me where I can hide my self. Every day, I require the foundation of a state of being, beyond art and artworks. The being cannot be dissuaded by obstacles which have no permanent bearing on choices I remain capable of making, however more difficult they become as difficulties arise to surround me.
This line of thought brought to mind the work and humor of Sigmar Polke. I do appreciate the humor behind his work, the variance of it all, and the anarchistic statement it sends back into the world of art. I’m a very firm believer on a daily basis of not taking anything too seriously. However, with art, I am a machine. I must be a machine, in order to be an artist. I must be a machine to undo the machine, same as Warhol reflected the production to reveal the product. I cannot take the risk of missing anything along the way, or not fulfilling what I see. I find it necessary to satisfy myself both today and in the forward days when I look back on today. And the only way I can be faithful to that, today, is devotion to illuminating what I know any and every way I can. Today, what I can accomplish holds less than I would prefer. That’s just a never ending part of life, as well as a crucial part of tomorrow. If all is done today, there is no tomorrow. Art and the death of painting is a perfect representation of this. If all is done, painting is dead, then where is tomorrow for art? Tomorrow is nowhere, exactly where we are now.
My humor, it may appear in my work over time. As other considerations like manual dexterity, materials and study fade with knowledge, confidence, assurance and competence taking their place, maybe. For now, I remain a machine. And the humor? Well, that exists within myself. It’s more of a “I am in hell and all I can do is laugh” sort of humor. There’s only a few choices for me when there is just way too much to be seen and done, to the point where it cripples my mind. I can step back and stop, I can quit and sink, or I can let go and laugh. I’ve done them all, the last one works pretty good if you want to be happy. But once again, these choices remain within. I can fully consider by not being capable today of injecting my humor into my work that in some ways my work is limited because it lacks a crucial part of me. I get that. It isn’t easy creating artworks that say everything all at once, and I wouldn’t lie to you and tell you that’s not what I am trying to do. I am. Everything is within the scope of what I am capableof seeing, so everything exists under the sky of my consideration. It’s gonna take some time. In the meantime, what matters more is that I am being an artist (first) who makes art. And that in every step I consider the full scope of my identity first, as an artist second. In the planning and execution of my images, ironically, the artisty lies in second place (where it belongs).