Monday 12 April 2021

Doing art

I was asked recently about what I was thinking when I created my art? I found that an almost impossible question to answer. 

I guess the easy answer would be everything and nothing but that would be a bit glib. Mostly when I’m making art I’m in a little world of my own so I’m probably not thinking at all in the accepted sense. Actually creating is often just so therapeutic that I’m often lost in a near meditative state. And then sometimes when things just aren’t going how I hoped they would be going I get a bit grumpy. Then is usually the time to get up and walk away and do something else. 

When I go and gawp at other peoples’ art I’m never bothered about what the artist was thinking or what the artist is trying to convey. So many people seem to have a need to understand art and I really don’t understand why. You can’t possibly feel what the artist was feeling so why bother worrying about it? 

People who wear the badge of Art Expert, Art Historian or Art Critic know no more than you about a piece of art. It’s all made up. All you need to know is that there is a piece of art which you either like or you don’t and that you take from it what you want to take from it. You can’t know the mind of the artist. 

With my art sometimes the title comes first and the piece springs from that. Other times the picture tells me what the title is. Then as often is the case I have a picture, I have a title, neither necessarily connected so I just put them together because it amuses me.I rarely explain my pictures because, well why should I? And anyhow, how are people going to exercise their minds if I give them the answers?

When presented with a piece of art before you, firstly, don’t panic! Then just take from it what you want and try not to read it like some cypher. Just take it for what it is and what it does for you. 

Art is easy. Stop taking it so seriously.

Friday 9 April 2021

Patriotism no, flags perhaps

A dictionary definition of patriotism is “the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it”. I suppose one could just about accept that if we lived in a democracy, but as we don’t, we have absolutely nothing to be proud of. And why does it have to be oh so competitive anyway? 

I have always subscribed to Samuel Johnson's, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." In my book patriotism is just a form of fascism. And of course no sane person wants to entertain fascism. 

I’ve always struggled with the concept of flags, nationhood, nationalism and patriotism. I’ve always seen them as symbols and concepts built around hate and tribalism. I would dearly love to be able to wear a badge to proclaim my sympathies but have always felt uneasy about such things. But perhaps I should totally separate my political beliefs from the disdain I have for flags that are so beloved by the parochial fascists 

Is identity important, and in turn national identity? I have always thought not. But perhaps I’m wrong? And why are specific plots of land so important? I do struggle to comprehend that. 

There are more questions than answers. 

I am changing my view slightly on flags though. Whilst I could never accept or understand the reactionary stance of the flag-shagging fascist, when a flag represents a set of worthy principles, then I think it's fine to wave one. But not going overboard. The red flag is the obvious acceptable flag. International socialism is a very worthy cause. The EU flag too is a worthy one. A flag that represents harmony and union. Then there are the flags of nations that represent a struggle for self determination. The Palestinian flag being the obvious one, the Saltire and the Catalonian flag being two more. I could go on. 

Of course if we lived in an English Socialist Republic with a different flag (perhaps was a red circle on a white background for example) then I’d happily celebrate that. Flags are nothing without the intellect. 

The jury is out.