“Why is that giant blue canvas a fantastic example of modern art?” (answer: ITS NOT)
“What you think you become, what you feel, you attract. What you imagine you become,” -Buddha
In 2003 I began my journey to becoming a better artist. I learned what the hell the whole thumb up in the air with squinting eyes was all about, that the history of art is an effective sedative, but mostly, no one knows what the hell they’re doing. Sometimes maybe they do. Maybe they paint some strange monster being sucked into a telephone or maybe they spend hours pushing paint around on a canvas waiting for something to manifest.
The girl looking at the abstract sculpture of which she recalls no information about other than it was(and still should be) at the MET and she found herself annoyed followed by a slow fog of depression when she couldn’t stop thinking “that’s art? Why is THAT art?”
Now, over a decade later, that girl laughs and says to herself “If you tell people you’re an artist, you’re trying to convince yourself. If people tell you you’re an artist and you blush and feel a squeeze in your chest from anxiety, that means you really are one.
I was done school but trying to stay in Philly and stayed with a professor(WAS a professor at the last school) who had weekly sketch groups at his house. He asked if I’d model. I wasn’t sure if he meant nude, but I kept my clothes on anyway. They were young, he wasn’t(isn’t), serious but cracking jokes here and there. They made me laugh a lot and pretty hard. Keeping a pose was borderline impossible. Then time was up and everyone showed me what they had painted. My professor, we’ll just call him Stanley, was staring at me with his painting and going around talking to everyone like they were his actual students, holding his rendering of me up as if it were an example to follow. I looked at it. It was me, my hair was covering my face, the side profile, but my nose stuck out a little from the short tufts of bright red hair. I looked like how I’d imagine I looked from where he was sitting. It was “skilled”. I was pretty disappointed because I looked still and cold when most of that hour I was struggling to breathe and my face hurt from the smiling. I went around and looked at everyone’s and there it was. The best one that wasn’t finished(some were mostly complete, but not this one), the brush strokes were quick and thick with paint. I think Stanley even commented on the fact that he needed to spend less time on the details, the very details that made that my favorite painting between them all. I was laughing. Everyone else painted me when I stopped laughing for those few brief moments, but he didn’t do that. He captured what he saw. He captured ME. I was ecstatic. My jealous Stanley wasn’t big on that, made some comments then quickly broke up the group. It wasn’t the boy he was worried about, maybe just a pinch, but mostly it was how I lit up at THAT painting and not his.
And this is the kind of people we are. Just jealous, self obsessed egocentric children running around trying to make people see them their way. I’m open to all perspectives, so I get it. I want people to see me. Not LIKE me. SEE me. I really feel like I’m not here sometimes. Maybe its a glitch or a dream or a glitch in the dream. Right now I’m looking at this big watercolor and ink painting of bare trees off to the side of the road with a creek flowing off into the horizon. Its gray and winter and just looking at it makes me feel cold. But my fiance said something, about what he saw looking at this big empty cold winter watercolor painting. I didn’t see much interest in it until he said that the painting wasn’t empty as long as he was there looking into it. His eyes fixed on it, telling me in that haunting tone, that what he see the painting to be, was something that went right over my head. Then I stared. And I felt it. And it scared the hell out of me.
I’m still looking up at it. Sometimes art that you usually see in doctor’s offices or hotel hallways aren’t just there to make the space more open and give it some texture. Some are there to be seen, to be noticed…and I know that feeling far too well.
So, in conclusion to this rant of nonsense. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT ART IS. They’re full of crap and full of themselves. Express yourself, do what you love…but for those would want be an artist because they love the idea of it, stop wasting money on supplies. Find soemthing else. Don’t waste your time on a wall to ceiling canvas and paint it blue and get a million dollars for it. I think I would laugh, get wasted, cry, and wake up in the morning wondering what dimension I had stumbled into.
Art. Anything is anything.
Boom! Sad couch. Boom! Sad cup.
“Abstract art is abstract. It confronts you,” -Jackson Pollock
Now I’m just beyond tired. But I also know, I’m not writing anything wrong. Just…maybe not properly written…might sound a bit retarded. All apologies. I need gummy worms now.