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Thursday

Something Else

Shelter: after Hiroshima 2006
Wax, thread, steel tacks, silk cushions, carbon fiber frame
I have recently been thinking about how to describe my art practice and I’ve come to realise that what I am interested in is just drawing and making marks.
My work is profoundly (?) simple. It is about the mark, the line and the materials I am using. Just that.

But I have always felt that I should be making art About Something.

This means that I’ll find a way of drawing or making marks that I like and then develop that into something else – for instance using blood to make drawings that were incorporated into a piece about the Feminine Divine, or finding a wonderful way of drawing with thread that was made into the piece, Shelter: after Hiroshima.

I realise that I’ve dressed my art up in concepts and ideas that are not really what I’m interested in because it seems to me that everybody who is making art, is making art that is also talking about Something Else.

In the West, many years ago, art was primarily about God and religion. People made pictures because the Church paid them to. Then they started making pictures that were about rich people, because they were paid to do that too. But because of the original religious reasons for making images, the rich people paintings referenced mythology, or used visual metaphors to describe the patron’s wealth, intelligence, charitable works or piety.
Eventually, and perhaps inspired by current political ideas, some artists started making images about other members of their communities, not just the rich. They also became fascinated by advances in science and rational thought and began making work that was influenced by those ideas.
Today, artists make work about, or  are inspired by, a vast range of ideas, philosophies and scientific and political theories.

It seems to me that art is always about something else, something additional to the work itself.

It’s like shoes. Shoes are not just coverings for feet. In our culture anyway, shoes ‘speak’ to a person’s identity, financial status, job. People make huge assumptions about other people just by looking at their shoes!

Is this what art is, the use of visuals/sound/sculpture to talk about Something Else?

Splatter. Ink on paper 2015
Now as far as I can work out, my art is not about Something Else. It’s really just about making marks, or finding marks. I guess people might layer their own expectations on what I do anyway, regardless of how I feel about it. But between you and me, it’s just about the marks, the sheer pleasure of being in the moment, watching what happens.

Does that make it bad art?

Does that make it art at all?

Or maybe the Something Else in my art is the fact that I don’t make art about something else?

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