the art world

It’s easy to criticise the art world out of a sense of injustice. I tend to advocate for my artist friends who I perceive as “true artists” or “the real deal”. It’s unrealistic though to expect the special zone creative activity brings you into should be perfectly reflected in any industry. An industry is a commercial activity. And that’s okay.

It’s possible to keep one’s sense of the sacredness of art and still be a commercially successful artist. Maybe the challenge is to find the right line between the sacred and the profane. Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously. It’s not Heidegger and the understanding of Being ALL THE TIME….

 

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Rules I Follow as an artist

  1. Don’t take art too seriously
  2. Take art very seriously
  3. It’s ok to paint over your own work (Don’t be too precious)
  4. Don’t paint over pictures the Muse has allowed to be very good
  5. Keep painting as much as possible like its as necessary as air
  6. Remember to have gratitude that your channels of creativity are open
  7. Support fellow artists, musicians, writers etc as much as possible
  8. Educate people who see artistic endeavour as a trivial act
  9. Always seek to regain your childlike sense of wonder
  10. Appreciate the Muse and the history of art and artists

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concepts of art

This is the way I previously described my work. “Organicity” is the concept that I coined. It really boils down to capturing the essence and form of Nature in paintings. In other words, all the lines and structures and repeated forms are all reminiscent of what you see in the world of nature. Energy forms are the parlance of physics, and so many paintings are an attempt to create a visual portrayal of energy, whether it’s electromagnetic or gravitational or dark matter. This then is in metaphorical resonance with our internal energies and emotional states. We emerge into bardo states and meditative contemplation states of mind. That’s what this “Organicity” thing was all about. Now it’s too jargonised for me to refer to. The description or theorising about art should never be necessary for full experience of the depth of a painting. I want a person who has never read about art to feel and enter into the visual world inside a frame that is a metaphor for their own Self.

 

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The purpose 

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This is one of the few posts you will ever see here that involves knowledge obtained directly from putting in many hours as a psychiatrist (as well as an artist).

I just read an article by some self-appointed and probably well-intentioned authority on how to be successful as an artist. It Ofcourse boiled down to the thesis “keep building your reputation, your prestige, your rating and your profile”. In other words, keep working away at making yourself known by as many art people as possible . Then you will become a successful artist. In the Age of Celebrity, it’s not surprising advice . It’s not even wrong. It’s just boring. And likely a good way to become another lost soul.

Our world is full of depressed, struggling souls with and without the following : money, recognition, reputation, artistic talent, charisma, brilliance, etc etc. These things don’t bring what the real core of a healthy human being wants : an authentic , creative and alive existence. Success ultimately is about living a creative and authentic life that is not dependent on the recognition of others, especially authority figures and the judges of the successful life. The main person you have to satisfy is you (ofcourse it’s nice for others to get joy from what you do as well).

In other words, I am interested in writing about how to live an authentic and creative and invigorating life. Painting and photography just happen to be my close at hand forms of creativity and authenticity . I hope they are not considered the only or even main ways to live a creative and authentic life .

Therefore , advice on how to make it in the art world might be interesting for those who see this as the ultimate goal. I do not. I wonder whether seeing “making it in the art world” may even be often anti-thetical in the quest to “make it in the art world”. Many consumers of art desire to buy a material manifestation of this desire to be creative and free. Egotism and narcissism are don’t usually sell well, do they? Not when they are nakedly revealed anyway.

This blog is not about that narrow goal of success in the art world.

It is about living and appreciating what it is to live a creative and authentic life. It is about the feeling of freedom that creating can give you.

I will try to clarify more and more the differences as we go between motives for art-making.

In a world of broken souls, of searing clinical depression, living a creative and authentic life must be nearer the ultimate goal than the somewhat self-torturing aim of becoming a successful artist. Success as an artist derives (in my value system at least) from pursuing more profound and humanistic paths toward the true and beautiful, the free and playful.

You’ll see what I mean as we go, I hope.

The opinions of others

Being a producer of art, whatever that is, one is exposed to a whole range of opinions and responses. It’s a fair question to ask “What do you think of the opinions people express about your art?”

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The bottom line is that I am not all that interested in praise or recognition. Rather, I produce paintings as a form of authenticity to myself and as a way of being true to my self. As a social being, I value feeling that my productions have given someone an experience of joy, peace, inspiration or awakened their aesthetic awareness. That is a nice side-effect of what I am doing.

As for the opinions of the art authorities, gallery owners or self-appointed art lords, it’s nice to have a positive review by this kind of person, but for me the art world is mainly a mix of cynicism, commodification of art, prestige-creation, art as currency and spurious claims to being an authority. Art as business.  I have many friends who are very poor and yet I enjoy their art work immensely. The real power of art is as a practice of self-awareness, as a discipline of attention to the world. In this sense, it is more like a daily meditation or a commitment to contemplation.

It is  also inherently a practice of freedom and play. These are the true rewards of being involved in art. Elitism, art snobbery, and the commercialisation of art are antithetical to this real living and burning core of art. I have no problem paying an artist for a piece, but it’s all about the motive and the experience.

Does this make sense to any of you?

New abstracts

“Wearing Short Sleeves at Work”…I have a dear friend, a leader in his medical speciality. He once reminded me that even though we put on a certain professional role at “work”, the power of healing in psychiatry comes from maintaining authenticity to oneself and therefore to our patients. It was exactly what I thought in my own mind. Wearing short sleeves at work refers to being a little more open and less hidden behind a role, a uniform, a tone. It’s good to have friends like this…they are like angelic guides (and this, even though he is a strong atheist). The painting exudes happiness because it is about a sense of ultimate freedom.


“Not Everyone Will Like You”…and this refers to the reality that the authentic self may invite criticism, but that’s okay. So the tones are again joyous.