Monday, February 4, 2013

What Trip Are You On?


Recently I attended an art opening.  The main artist was a watercolourist.  An nice fellow.  OK stuff, if not too exciting.  His guest artist was another story.  He aggressively told me "been painting for a year and a bit.  Make my living at it and am now teaching my method.  I have 20 minutes in this one what with all the interruptions here in the gallery.  That one took nearly an hour.  Too much.  Sure I can't draw but so what?  I get an image and trace it then voila.  There is a new printing paper that does the tracing for you and then the water in your paint makes the tracing marks disappear.  I'm trying to get the fellow in the front gallery to go this way.  He makes almost nothing per hour.  He's been painting 21 years."

Basically this fellow makes colouring book images and colours in the shapes.  Usually black and white.  I wondered why he doesn't just print the images.  He doesn't know where he is going but he thinks he has arrived.  As Harold said, "you can't stop people from buying crap."

Here is an example;





Robert Genn talked about this in his recent newsletter.  here is his "Matthew Effect"in part,

The Matthew Effect can be applied to art. Historically, would-be artists who didn't learn the basics of drawing, composition, colour and form put themselves at a disadvantage. But with the widespread democratization of art, particularly in the Western hemisphere, folks these days often feel self-expression is up ahead of proficiency. It seems many artists are simply educated with a sense of entitlement and audacity. In many places, big, decorative art is popular. Artists with very little training or academic instincts can often make effective, even sensitive, wall-fillers that make people happy. One of my more conservative dealers calls it "the end of connoisseurship." He tells me people are not looking so closely for exquisite rendering, good drawing or the skillful nailing of light and shadow. "Right now they want 'em mighty, moody, and splashy," he says. "Because traditional skills aren't so respected anymore," my dealer says, "there's an industry in teaching people to be amateurs." As he said this I was remembering Picasso's remark: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." I'm curious about this. Is "painting like a child" just a trend? Are skill, technique, and connoisseurship truly on the endangered list? If so, what is this doing to people? "

For me the discovery and endless learning keep me taking the trip.  What about you?

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