15 May 2007

Art and stuff...

OK, here’s a warning! This is a very long post (for being me) and there are no pics. Just a few deep thoughts about art and stuff. If you’re not up for it, come back in a day or two and you might cache me in a different mood.

I’ve been following and participating in some discussions about art and creativity lately. A lot of people seem to feel a need to talk about these things, and I’m more then willing to admit I’m one of them.

One of the issues that are brought up is the question about who’s an artist and who isn’t? To me the answer is very simple, an artist is someone who makes art! Whether you have a degree in fine art or not doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of your work that is important! By that I mean the artistic quality, not the level of skill.

I think the question should be, what is art and what isn’t? I often think of art in terms of communication rather then as a quality in an object. Great art is something that touches me, that changes my mood and makes me feel differently, that changes my way of thinking and makes me see things from another point of view. Art doesn’t have to be pretty or beautiful. Great art can be totally disgusting and still be brilliant.

Everyone is born with the potential of being creative. To be creative isn’t the same thing as producing a lot of stuff. To me being creative is a choice you make about how to live your life. Creativity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with art, but to make art you have to be creative.

Another related issue is the question of fiber art being separated from the rest of the art world, and not always feeling welcome. I do think this is true, and to a large degree I think it’s due to textiles traditionally being a female medium. But to be honest I have to say that I’ve also met quite a few textile artists that’s been totally clueless about what’s going on in the art world in general. Let’s try something! Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Now write down the names of ten internationally known contemporary artists, that doesn’t work in fiber.

Well… did you pass? To those of you who did, congratulations! For everyone else I have a question. Why do we seek approval from the art community if we don’t really care about what they do?

Here are some more thought on the subject of art and creativity
Bruce Mau - An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Ragged Cloth Café
Lisa Call
Keri Smith
Tenar's cave
Neki Desu
Sharon Boggon
Serena Fenton

If you agree or disagree with me, please leave a comment!


gunnelsvensson said...

Jag tror att vi har så mycket av "Jante" i oss. Här i Sverige är det nästan en dödsynd att säga att man sysslar med konst om man inte gått på konstskola. Det är nästan som att säga att man är läkare när man inte har legitimation!!!

Dianne said...

Art is a person's "artistic creation" - whether or not you or I think it is good doesn't alter that. We all have different tastes - and we all view art differently. That's my opionion anyway! I think this is one of those subjects that no-one will ever agree on....

neki desu said...

i agree with your statement that being creative doesn't mean producing lots of stuff, bcse the outcome is just that "stuff". methinks i have resolved for my own thinking the art question.
there's also something that bothers me the validation issue, yet it's true.as an example take rauschenberg. he's been using textiles for a very long time, commanding astronomical prices(good for him) yet he is percieved as an ARTIST. if someone else worst if it's a woman -and we get into the gender issue- works with textiles she's dismissed bcse of the medium quality doesn't even get to be considered.
i also agree with your test and that's thin ice we're walking on here bcse the field is populated with little old ladies and women with expendable income who just want to kill time, no offense here, it's just the lack of commitment that bothers me.
There are also political implications in the crafts that maybe are overseen by many.the act of creating
goes beyond sitting down to stitch or weave whether we like it or not.sharon published a link with an exellent article about the craft field and it's political implications about two weeks ago. very educational and really worth reading.

neki desu


I agree with your thoughts, I think everbody has its own creativity, but often we can´t see it, we have no time, we say: later,later.. and its also the fear to blame. Those thoughts are difficult for me to express in English, but I think you understand me.
Have a nice evening

Annica said...

Thanks everyone for letting me know how you feel about this subject. I do hope I didn’t step on any toes by bringing this up.

Dianne, I think you’re absolutely right! This is the kind of discussion where we are all going to have our own opinions and we might never agree on everything. That is the reason for why I wanted to write about it in the first place! It is so interesting to hear what you all have to say.

Recently I’ve met several people here in Sweden, that I’d think of as artists, who prefer to call themselves painters. The reason for this is that they can’t identify with the contemporary artscene. In the UK many people like to label themselves "designer/maker" rather then being associated with the term crafts because of the implications. I find all these thoughts to be very interesting but I’m also fascinated about how we seem to have a need to find words to describe what we do and who we are. Personally I find designer/maker to be a very straight forward and down to earth description of what I do, and I often prefer it to calling myself an artist.

Waltraud, you mention fear in your comment. I think that is another important aspect of being creative. To me fear is the opposite of creativity. The best way to prevent creativity is to tell yourself that you’re not good enough and that you will fail.

Dianne said...

I agree with a lot that has been said, and it seems lately that "art" has become too precious a word. I think if you create something it is art, but are you then an artist or a crafter, or as you said Annica - a designer? Does it really matter what you call yourself????!!

Jodi @ Happy House Quilts said...

oh my gosh, I just want to sit on a couch or a beach with you and talk for hours!!! I am an Art Therapist by training and everyone is creative and can be an artist they just have to find their media and work through the fear that you wrote so eloquantly of.

I call myself many things...maker...never thought of that...mostly I've been "mom" and now my inner creative soul is chirping to escape and create...validation is good but not needed...however selling one's items or haveing it be desired and requested is so flattering. I love to use my creative time to work through feelings, conflicts and emotions...both positive and difficult ones. This is a moment in time...captured in paint, textile or ink...whichever media we use...we express...whether others choose to call it art is none of my concern. I love what I do and will continue to create, craft, design, make and be!

I love your blog!