Self, 2011

Artist to Photographer

Self, 2011

Almost a year ago, I made the conscious decision to stop painting, and stop calling myself an artist. A very small part of the decision was due to the lack of time I had; teaching full time, newly married, as well as various other commitments.

But the main reason I have stopped has been brewing inside for a while, since I began studying Art History at Victoria University.
Through my studies, I was introduced to people who called themselves artists through their artworks, who had a very different interpretation of the word art than I did. It is almost insulting. Back in 2006, I made a piece called Would Rembrandt Approve, which asks the question of these posers, whether the great masters of years gone by would approve these concoctions as works of art.
Such an artwork was a wire mesh fence set up in a square, with some boxes, pinths, with flyers and rubbish scattered around inside. Art. Artist. Joke.
For me, these so called artists, who were claiming to push the boundaries of art, were not only pushing over walls, but destroying the very foundation they were claiming to be standing upon.

It disgusts me.
It makes me ashamed to be called an artist.

Furthermore, studying post-modernism, it was evident that there was no changing this depressing future.

So I turned my focus to photography. I have always been interested in it, but saw it as a technical process rather than a creative output. As an artist, I found it just as annoying to see photographers calling themselves artists, rather than being an entity on their own.
But since adjusting my focus into the world of photography, I have found new challenges, creative problem solving, and most importantly, fun, in my pursuits. I have found that most photographers in my circle of friends to call themselves photographers rather than artists. And I have found a new lease of life in creating images for people to enjoy.

End note: This may come to a shock to many of you who value my work, and to you I apologise. But I thank you for all your support over the years, and for your continuing encouragement in my pursuits.

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Forgiven

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Today the youth held an auction to raise funds for their trip to India.
I had painted a couple of paintings, which is why I was less disappointed than I would have been had I put forward one of my own personal pieces, when one of my pieces went for a mere $100.

That is not to judge the person who bid on it, who may have spent all their budget on it, but if I were selling that piece proffessionally, it’d fetch over $250, no trouble.

So unfortunately, that may be the last art auction I participate in. Unless my art is going to be valued appropriatly, there is little chance I will put in the time nor effort into it in the future.

Monet

Vicky and I went to see Monet. I have seen many of them whilst I was overseas in Europe – but for Vicky, it was a once in a life time opportunity to get to see some of the more famous art outside of this little country of ours.

We are sometimes so sheltered. People over in Europe and the States take for granted the fact that they can go and see art by the worlds masters any weekend they like. Over here, we have to wait years to get anything of this level of fame out here.

Naturally, we weren’t allowed cameras into the exhibition – so I took a photo of the car park instead…

Art at Easter

Today Vicky and I headed up to Easter Camp 09 (Central) in Feilding. It was a great trip up with a car full of art stuff for which to run an art workshop at the camp. It all went really well. The Easter-Campers came, all full with ideas of what they wanted to do and all I had to do was end up facilitating the use of paint and canvases. It was a great experience, though I’m not sure I would want to run it again. For me as a proffessional, it seemed more like a baby-sitting option, rather than a full on, hard core ministry for God. Maybe that’s the nature of Art in the Christian world, but even so… it just seemed lacking in… power.

Paint the Town Red

Today I’ve been painting. Not my usual kind of stuff, you know – art on canvas etc… No. This was more white on house…

But I have been listening to Delirious lately – got their new album “My Soul Sings” and I love “Paint the Town Red”. Kind of appropriate then.

Paint the Town Red Delirious

You know I feel there’s something ’bout to break now,
You know I feel there’s a city here to take now.
And it’s not so tough for these ordinary hands,
When we trust someone with extraordinary plans.

You know I feel this heart’s about to break now,
Cos I can see what the devil’s trying to take now.
We’ve got this leather backed book and a freedom cry,
And we’re an army of God who are ready to die.

You give us hope where hope is gone,
You fill the streets with a holy song,
We’re gonna paint this big old town red.

Oh, Here we come, here we come
Oh, Here we come, here we come

You know I feel this sky’s about to break now.
You know I feel our city’s gonna shake now.
And we hear you call every woman and man,
“Ring the mission bell” and storm the gates of hell.

Miracles run from street to street,
Rise up Church for a holy meet,
We’re gonna paint this big old town red
We’re gonna paint this big old town red
With the blood of Jesus!

Painted

Sometimes you just can’t help but get paint everywhere. Even after washing my hands, I still had flecks.

I offered to paint my sister’s house for her a while back, so today was the day that I began. I don’t know how people do it for a living though. After 3 hours, I’d done my dash. Still, it was good fun, working on my own, listening to some tunes… chilling out with a paintbrush in my hand. Pretty good stuff on a warm autumn day!

Oh to Paint

Finally managed to get out into the garage to paint today. I miss the joys of what it means to create. It began because the airbrush hose arrived and I went out to test it. Unfortunately it didn’t produce the results I expected. So I resorted back to spray painting, trying to recreate the effect of film grain.

A book arrived today. ‘Landscapes: From North to South’, a collection of paintings depicting New Zealand places by different artists throughout our history. It has inspired me to begin a couple of landscape pieces which I will try and begin work on in the next few days.

Excellence

“Why is it that we introduce painting and music to primary school students before they can read? The arts are a part of a universal human language, whether music, dance, drama or the physical fine arts.” (Education Horizons, p13)

A recent article, To create or not to create; is this really the question? in Education Horizons (Daniels, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2008, pp13-14) outlined the seemingly lack of importance placed in the arts in our education system. Mirrored by the lack of funding from the Ministry (MoE) and the attitudes displayed in the schools and in the curriculum, its importance is wavering; its relevance getting lost in the political agendas of various sectors of the educational system.
Often art (as in visual art) is ‘dumbed’ down as a subject. Its widely promoted as if anyone can take it at any time as a way to make up credits. Gone are the days where training to be an artist took years, even decades and the “fine art” has been lost with the dawn of modernism and mass production.
The article in question raises several valid points and speaks volumes as an argument for the importance of art, especially visual art, to be better recognized in the balance of the New Zealand education system. However it overlooks various parts of artistic practice which do align with other areas of the curriculum.

“Strive for excellence all you want. The talented students will always succeed. All I ask is that you offer the rest of us the opportunity to shine by boosting funding to the arts faculties in schools so that we can help students increase their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. We all need to lose ourselves in imagination and dreams sometimes. As wonderful as out technological world is, without human imagination and creativity, life is stilted, one dimensional and deprived of soul.” (Daniels, p14)

What this is suggesting is exactly the point I raised before. It is promoting art as a subject for those of us who aren’t so-called “academic”. But why? Why place that stereotype on the arts and use it as an argument to validate its existence in the school environment? Why suggest that there are no “talented” students in the art department; that it’s purely made up of “the rest of us”? Whilst it is more than common that art students brains are more right sided and the “academics” in Mathematics or Science who are left sided, this does not mean that students who are more creative can’t achieve excellence in their given field. They can still strive for that excellence. Place a scientist in an art department, and that same level of excellence is unlikely to be reached, just as an art student could struggle to reach the same levels in science if the roles were to be reversed.
The reason this type of reasoning falls apart is because art is subjective, the work produced often is a result of a process that is explored, rather than a right or wrong answer at the end of the day. The science buff is able to complete an artwork, and although it may not be highly skilled or technically accurate, the process leads to a result that is considered as art, and the level of excellence is only relevant to that student.
In my opinion, and it is only that, is that there are students who achieve to a high degree of excellence in art. That does not mean they are mediocre students or that they aren’t talented. Students who take art are still able to succeed and produce excellent work, and can be “academics” in their own field. I think that the article itself seemed to be making an excuse for not reaching excellence, rather than outlining the fact that there is still excellence in every subject area, and art is no different.

Daniels, R. (2008) To create or not to create; is this really the question? In Education Horizons; Journal of Excellence in Teaching, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2008.

‘Till next time…

Affordable Art Show

Visited the Affordable Art Show yesterday with Vicky. First impressions were not good. The layout for one was shocking. You walk in, and its this tiny little bottleneck through which did not work at all. You couldn’t appreciate those artworks on display in it because you couldn’t stand back from them, and you felt shunted as you moved through.
The openings into gallery spaces were far too small, and felt very intimidating, especially when you had an artist’s wall with the artist standing there. I didn’t want to get too close in case I got accosted by them. It was not a nice feeling.
The layout of the progression the last few years has been good and easy to follow. This year however there seemed to be more offshoots and nooks and crannies, so many in fact that I’m not sure if I got to see all that was on offer.
I am writing a piece on the short comings and possible downfalls if the Affordable Art Show is to continue along these lines on my Canvas page.

‘Till next time…