I was in a cab not so long ago, and me and the driver were chatting about jobs we had, and jobs we are doing now. I was saying how I am an artist and he said thats great and was nice to meet a real artist. I said well everybody is an artist really, everyone tells me they are an artist, and I guess we all like to paint and draw. And he told me quite sharply that 'no you are an artist as you dedicate your life to it. I made a bird box, that doesn't make me a carpenter, I do my accounts doesn't make me an accountant, its just something I can do". This to me was profound, I have always loved the freedom of being what ever, and not having a label, but I guess labelling does come into its own at some point. By law you are forced to label your self, for visas, for paying tax; I myself am a sole trader because I sell my work enough that its not classified as a hobby. You suddenly push your self out of hobby zone when you starting pushing yourself harder at whatever that is you may be doing.
This wise cabby of mine also said it requires a certain amount of skills to be an artist. And this is the point I want to focus on. Where is the skill in art anymore! why haven't artists pushed themselves harder. Thats why to me Monet, Matisse, Turner, Hockney are all some of the greatest painters because you can look at their breath of work and there really is an evolution a constant style and hand that is theirs, but it does progress. And the progression is the constant curiosity into their world and the harnessing of a skill which to me is what makes a piece of Art.
Duchamp came on the scene set off a grenade and we have been stuck in the aftermath ever since, found objects have been around in my opinion far too long and the skill of art is being lost.
This takes me back to my first point where I said we are all artists, and yes we probably could be because it just takes enough gumption and lingo to get you there look at Martin Creed.
The art world is always trying to push boundaries to what is art, but they are asking the wrong question, they should be asking artists to push their skill in making art! And its the art they make through being true artists, born with these skills of depiction and looking, that will lift us out of this stagnant art world. At primary school we draw in art classes, secondary school we draw in art classes, and then you go to higher education and all those skills you learnt to be an artist goes out the door because of the contemporary art scene. No wonder artists are so confused by what to create these days. You are judged on your ability to keep up with the trends rather than you as your individual skills to create art.
With the work I produced for my first show it was about a process showing all the art I created in a certain amount of time some better than others but all are art. Because the whole 500 flowers was a display of me working on my skill. And I focus on this for my next show, on how to push my depiction further of the natural world. Its that pushing and constant drawing that has already changed what I draw, in just a year. And I believe by having this at my core, it will be my North on my compass.
painting by : Turner