What is Art? Who knows?

Hindsight (36x36)

Part of one of the amazing things about having an art studio open to the public is that I can interact with people on a whole other level.  And believe me – this has not always been a welcomed act (on may part.) I’m sure I sound like a broken record on that subject.  I don’t exactly care for most people, I’m shy,  I’m not a people-pleaser, and I don’t seek validation from people to prove my self-worth (as an artist).  Oh, and I dread small talk.  Also, my bull shit tolerance level is very low…..I guess I could go on and on.  Those are not exactly the greatest qualities to possess, especially when you are trying to sell things.  (Ooooops) So having an open studio has helped me interact with people and learn to work around interruptions, and be more patient with people. I am generally a joyous person even though I make myself sound like a troll, just not a people person.

That being said, I met this older gentleman the other day.  He was very interested in hearing me explain my art – because I could tell that he could not understand it, or relate to it in the least bit.  Upon further conversation, I learned that he really did love art – but preferred more realistic, and especially enjoyed plein air.  He was so passionate when he was describing a certain piece of art he had in his possession – that he could tell that it was painted at several different times of day because of the light, etc.  He even managed to track down the exact small town where it was painted (and from what I remember, it was even in a different country.) I was completely impressed that he spent so many hours analyzing the painting.  Some people like things (art, music, movies) that remind them of a past experiences, past places, their youth, etc.  And he was defiantly one of those people (stuck in the past).   On the other hand – I enjoy art, and making art that makes me use my imagination, tap into my adventurous side, seems unpredictable, more progressive, and explores the unknown.  I am drawn to the mystery. This mirrors how I live and embrace life.

This gentleman went on to talk about his previous work life, (I think oil/geology related,) and  he was particularly interested in Fractals (Fractal Geometry – I think). He is obsessed with observing and predicting patterns in everything, and this is where my art frustrated him.  Because he is used to applying logic to everything in his life – and my work appeared illogical at first glance.  He could even apply Fractals to Jackson Pollocks work, and I attempted to understand his explanation.  (And BTW I’m waaay past sticking a bird in my otherwise non-objective painting art so some blow Joe logical left brainer can find something to relate to, and be OK and breathe easy the rest of the day) I simply explained that the outcome of my work meant absolutely nothing, and was non-objective, and intuitive.  That there was no need to over analyze it – that you are to enjoy it as “Art, for Art’s Sake.”  That the things I am inspired with absolutely have nothing do with a subject matter – or at least a subject that can be decoded by mere humans.  I am more inspired by energy, mood, and experimenting, and that I find my work very challenging, and that is my main priority. While, yes, my eventual goal is to sell my paintings and financially support myself,  I do not set about making a pretty picture that will match a sofa when I sit down at the easel.  The outcome is completely unrelated to the process. That my art is my therapy, and I am relaxed and clear when I work.  That the process is a grounding experience for me and it is the journey that is the most important.  Because it is mine, and mine alone.    The secret communication and intimacy that transpires is only mine to understand.  When I am finished – I will let you see,  I just don’t care or want you to understand.  I could make something up about how deep and meaningful my work is – but I hate to admit it – there really is nothing to explain.  My work is an extension of MY personality.  I am not a particularly deep or meaningful person. I’m a realist and don’t think I am a decidedly special, or exceptional human being.  Just average – and I’m OK with that.  I don’t care about politics,  I am straight-forward, at times rude, and superficial.  I am also passionate, focused, humorous, fun, and loving – and just don’t take things seriously or over-analyze things.  I’m just trying to fly below the radar, and trying to enjoy life before the world implodes.

Behind the EightBall (36×36)

How to define art has been a subject that has been debated by an infinite number of people since the dawn of human civilization. And there seems to be no definite solution to define such a simple subject.  But most will agree, that art is subjective and different in the eye of the beholder.  Art stimulates different parts of our brains and evokes emotion.  Art is a way to be creative and express ones self. For some people, art is the entire reason they get out of bed in the morning. And you might say that art is something that makes us more thoughtful and well-rounded humans.  It is amazing how different people from all walks of life can see, enjoy, experience, and perceive things completely differently.

But the fact that my art even evoked something in this man, was intriguing to me. You know the saying “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about” – Oscar Wild.  I guess that is true – depending what lies are told.

He was very intelligent and knowledgeable about art – and I enjoyed talking with him – but he just did not care for non-objective abstract art, no matter how I tried to explain it to him.  And that was OK.  I enjoyed our conversation because I rarely think about what I am doing, let alone articulate what I am doing.  I realize I live in a little vacuum, and feel like a turtle most of the time; keeping to myself, and interacting very little. I forget that I need a little artist intellectual stimulation now and then.

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2 Comments

Filed under Artist Ramblings

2 responses to “What is Art? Who knows?

  1. Well said Casey. Thank God I found your blog! As an abstract artist myself…so many of your postings make me laugh, mostly at myself…I swear it’s like we share some sort of artist DNA. I too find that people want an explanation of my abstract work. The only explanation is: I paint what I love…bold, rich colors and amazing textures that make ME happy. There is no interpretation intended, required, or expected. Thanks again for the great posts….you can bet I’ll be following. Continued success to you.
    Charlen Williamson

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