Sunday 29 May 2016

Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine Show

I've been aware of the poet Martin Figura for a couple of years. I've seen him perform three times before Thursday night's performance of Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine Show. The show was part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival. I don't think I've ever seen a more absorbing and spellbinding one person performance of poetry and prose. It seems to be a mix of autobiography and poetic licence, which along with some inspiring props and well displayed photos and graphics to support Martin's charming and humorous writing makes for a wondrous evening.

It's a show that will make you smile, laugh, empathise and engender an inner glow. If you get the chance it's a must see!

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Object Oriented Art

Sometimes when I publish my art on The Art of Being Paul Garrard I do so without being entirely happy with a piece. Sometimes ideas work and sometimes they don't. And just because I don't like something that I've produced it doesn't mean that someone out there won't like it or find it interesting. So I often publish work and work in progress just in case someone finds value in it.

I recently completed a picture called Rotunda. Something didn't feel quite right about it but I couldn't quite work out what so I put it on the web regardless. I kept on thinking. In the meantime here is the original picture:

Object oriented programming in the computer world has been around for a long time. Essentially a programme is made up of different objects that have certain functions, routines or tasks. You can use those objects over and over again in different configurations and in different programmes. It saves painstakingly rewriting code from scratch. Well the same can apply to digital art. The programmes that I use to create my art allow you to use bits over and over ad infinitum. Digital art programmes are powerful tools. I can take a section from one of my pictures and transform it into some entirely different. Some might think that it's somehow cheating and I'm sure many think that digital is not proper art. People are entitled to their opinions but of course I disagree. And what is art anyway? Also I firmly believe that had he been alive today Leonardo Da Vinci would have used digital.

Anyway, back to Rotunda. Despite my not liking the original version I still felt that as a picture it had potential. So I reworked a section and transformed it into a new picture with a different direction. I'm rather pleased with it. I hope you like it. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Rotunda II:

Sunday 1 May 2016

We are artists you and I

Art is not exclusively a rich man's sport. I realise that it might be perceived as such, particularly in the media, but it is not so. The British Critical Establishment try to tell us what is and isn't art, but in no way do we have to accept that. Based on the narrow-minded opinions of the critical elite, the education system churns out clones of what are defined as talented artists; giving them a certificate to back this up. You can legitimately teach craft, but in no way can you teach anyone to be an artist. Art is subjective; it is in the eye of the beholder, there are no rules defining what art should or should not be. There is no good art and there is no bad art, just art.

High prices at art auctions reinforce the myth that artists are good or bad, winners or losers. The elite use the language of competition and false quality standards to bolster the artistic myths. There is no competition in art. Art is beyond competition. In the South Sea bubble of the elitist art world a value system is applied that is meaningless in the extreme. Art critics give the thumbs up to what they see as good art based on their fictitious criteria. These art critics, these self-styled experts on art are charlatans. Unfortunately as with the Emperor's new clothes most believe what the charlatans say. The fashionistas dictate what's in and what's not and so that gallery content and major exhibitions are influenced by just a few. And thus a commodity is born.

Art is whatever you want it to be.

There is one artist above all others who has been so influential in the way that I look at art and in particular how I creatively operate. His name was Ken Sprague. I first became aware of him in the 1970s through his posters and flyers for a number of left wing political campaigns. I liked his bold, sometimes neo-brutalist, lino prints. It was a style that got the message across. Ken was direct in his message. Then in the 1980s he presented a television series called 'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' where he highlighted 'ordinary' folk who practised their art for the pure love, enjoyment and fulfilment it brought them. Since then 'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' has been my mantra.

'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' is derived from a quote often used by Eric Gill, an artist and designer of some rather pleasing typefaces, and unfortunately a practitioner, allegedly, of some rather dubious moral behaviour. That quote is 'An artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist' and as I understand it originally comes from the philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy.

The idea that only a chosen few can be artists is yet another piece of pernicious propaganda perpetrated by the elite who continue to oppress us. The elitist concept of art is a downright lie. If you want to be an artist then you can be.

We need to liberate art. We need a mass movement of art participants. Anyone can be an artist if they want to be. Seize that notion and own it. Go forth and create.