Fifty Five: Concerning artistry

Is it true that to be an artist it is enough to say “i am an artist”?

I mean obviously you have to do some art too but how much and how good does it have to be to call yourself an artist?

Image

This is a photo of a photo i took some time ago, but i have recently been playing with transfer printing images onto fabric using acrylic gel medium. i am in the process of incorporating these pictures in to other works that involve other fabric and paper and collage…

I am just about comfortable enough to call myself a photographer…but I have no background in art apart from an appreciation of it given to me by my mum. I have no training, no ability when it comes to drawing stuff that is supposed to look like something and no idea what I am doing.

I can create things…this much i am sure of, i have created things and made things all my life, but is this enough? as an engineer and scientist I find myself annoyingly pretentious if I say that I am an artist… especially if I add the words mixed media into the mix.

To say that I am an artist, in my eyes elevates me above the stage I am at…but someone once said that in order to become something you have to become it…or words to that effect,

in other words, don’t just try to be something, be it…

but is calling myself an artist, and doing artistic things enough?

How do I know if I am good enough?

Sorry if that seemed a little self indulgent…It was just something I was thinking about…any opinions out there would be welcome…

Fifty One

Originally posted 1st October 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into the realms of posterous…here I am again! Or to put it another way…I know it has been a very long time since I last put anything on here, in fact this is the first post of 2012 and it is October already! Well I hope the return is a welcome one…although in reality I suspect there are not a lot of people actually reading this…maybe I should dedicate some time to self promotion…possibly but that is a subject for another day.

Well…Enough of all that and on to the real reason for this post..actually it ties in to the reasons why my blogging has been sparse recently. I have been considering “doing things” yes I know that sounds a little vague…I mean actually getting up and dong all the things you talk about doing, or just doing things you enjoy rather than wasting time but claiming you are too busy. The photo to go with this is of something I have been making recently

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This is my Art Journal…it is a book I am keeping and decorating which I am filling with reminders of things I do and things that happen. The journal its self is not the focus, but it serves as an illustration of my point, which is about not wasting the time we have.

If you want to do something whether it is art, cooking, learning to play a musical instrument or building a replica of the starship enterprise in your garage, don’t just talk about it do it! I am a firm believer that, for the most part, the only thing stopping people doing things is themselves!

It has recently been pointed out to me that I have a group of friends who are high up on the scale of doers…I mean they do things, they fill their time with interests and pursuits that they enjoy and that they want or need to do. Is it just me who thinks this is a better way to be than living without experience, it is surely better to say “I am going to…” or “I tried…” than saying “one day” and “I’d like to…but I can’t”. Now I am not talking about filling every spare moment with activity (unless you want to) but find one thing that you really want to do and do it…

I believe that it is better to have had a busy interesting life than to look back and say “if only I had done more…” It is personal choice of course…but make sure it is a choice…if you are doing nothing because that is what you really want then choose that…but choose…don’t just talk about things you might do then let everything pass you by!

In keeping with tradition the watch report states I am only wearing one watch today…I am wearing 11 bracelets though…

Thirty Two: Concerning eclectic architecture and not crashing your car

Originally posted 5th March 2011

This week has been the first week in my new job (I think I mentioned it!) it has been a good week and I am going to like it. I am adapting to a new working atmosphere and I seem to be working with some nice people, although I still miss the people at my last work. This, however, it not directly what I wanted to talk about, I have been thinking about my new commute. I have also been thinking on my new commute as it has been anything between 1 and 2 hours! What I have been thinking about is architecture, I now drive right through the centre of 2 towns and across a common in the surrey hills and there is a vast amount of variation in the architecture I see. This variety is something i have always been aware of, I was taught early in my life to not only look directly in front of you but to look up in a town, there are often some interesting things to see at 1st floor height and above! It was relatively easy to choose some photos for today as I have always had a bit of a thing for buildings:

Both of these pictures were taken in London, they serve very well to illustrate my point, which is we live in a country with extremely varied architectural styles. It pays to look a little more closely at buildings around us, although essentially they are there to keep the weather off the contents, if you look at them, really look at them they are so much more. They are an art form in themselves, they are an expression of the style and values of the time they were built! This is evident not only in the style and decoration of the building, but also in the placement. I noticed more buildings fitting into a space on friday than I previously thought possible, there were grand Georgian and Victorian buildings peeping in between modern ones and over the top of much older shorter styles. It is fascinating to look at. This is all in stark contrast the country villages not even a mile away with the small (and large) stone cottages and churches.

Next time you are stuck in traffic, or (probably safer) walking through a town or village, just have a look around, see the beauty in the buildings and consider for a moment how and why they are the way they are.

Twenty Five: Concerning the nature of art (and bananas)

Originally Posted on 23rd February 2011

I seem to have got into the habit of asking unanswerable questions on here, perhaps it is to off set my scientific nature that I balance my need to have right and wrong answers with all these subjective questions. Today’s is what is art? this is a question that has been pondered by many more knowledgeable minds than mine but as always I have an opinion, and of course it is only my opinion. Somebody famous (and someone not famous this afternoon) said that they don’t know much about art but they know what they like; this is in my opinion quite a sensible place to start. There are many people who claim to be experts who will discuss the value of a piece of art ad infinitum but they forget to consider whether that piece of art is interesting to look at. It doesn’t matter how profound your artistic statement, if no one wants to look at it then the statement will go unmade. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t gone all chocolate box on you I am still very much about finding the art in the ordinary and looking at the world in an abstract manner, to prove it here is a photo that I took that is of a very mundane subject that has moved from the every day into a world of art that can just look at the shape and composition of the picture that it makes.

whether or not you think it is art is up to you but I firmly believe you can make art from anything.

I do not think art is restricted to pretty images or images that are easy to look at, after all Picasso’s Guernica is not an easy view but it speaks to you on a level that makes it fascinating to look at for hours here it is just in case you don’t know it:

The point that I was trying to make before I got sidetracked by Guernica (something that happens often) was that if you get too hung up on defining art or specifying the type of art that you like, you could just be missing out on lots of interesting experiences. This translates to the rest of your life too, do not restrict your self to preconceived ideas of what you like…after all you never know unless you try.

Except in the case of bananas

by the way I went through a phase of wearing only one watch, then I went back to two..

Thirteen: Concerning the need to look closer

Originally Posted 11th February 2011

Today I want to talk about looking closer, looking beyond the obvious and seeing what is really there. There is no topical reason for this choice today, it is something I have try to do and have been thinking about recently. The choice of this topic came from a random browsing of my photos and finding two very different photos that I had forgotten about, and that illustrate this point admirably:

The first is this, a photo which not only displays my previously mentioned affinity for both repeating patterns and abstract photography but also is tells a tale of why you should look around you at everything that is there, not just the things people are directing you towards. This was taken in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is the view through a barred opening onto the stripy wall over the foyer. As I was taking this photo leaning on the wall peering through the gap, another visitor to the gallery happened past, he had an audio tour which was doubtless telling him where to walk and where to look. A he passed me he looked at me in a confused manner, then started standing behind me in an attempt to figure out what piece of art I was looking at and why his audio tour was not telling about it!

The second photo is of this little sparrow, possibly the best bird photo I have ever taken. It was taken at Marwell Zoo, a place known for exotic and endangered creatures, not necessarily British garden birds. This fellow was sitting on the fence of the Tiger enclosure and while everyone was looking only at the giant stripy pussy cats I spotted this chap and managed to get an amazing photo.

In both of these cases, I spent a good deal of time looking at the items on display as well, I have my fair share of photos of tigers and looked at my fair share of art and enjoyed both very much. My point however is not to only look at what is being put on display for you, look past the obvious and into the corners, look at everything that is really there. Look at the sorts of things you can miss if you don’t.

This principal is an important one when looking at the world around you, but it is also a pretty good thing to attempt to do when meeting people. look past your first impression to the real person inside, the person who may be being suppressed in favour of making a “good first impression”. Through this attempt to see people you will find yourself not dismissing people on face value. This way you can find some spectacularly good friends in places you may not have expected. After all, do you always project the real you within the first moments of meeting someone?

Five: Concerning the abstract

Originally Posted 3rd February 2011

Five… I wonder how many of these counts as an obsession.

The concept of obsession leads relatively neatly into my photo choice for today as it represents a couple of my current obsessions. Today was a tricky one, I have been looking back over my photos and posts and a few things came to mind for today, but what really made my mind up was a recurring conversation that I have with a friend from work. So here it is:

This as I have stated represents several of my obsessions, abstract photographs, repeating patterns and inspiring people to consider things in a way they never had before. The friend I was referring to earlier has a dislike of anything abstract and cannot seem to appreciate the beauty in a photo when the subject is not obvious. Now I would of course defend her right to have her own opinion but in this case I don’t understand it. I strongly believe there is beauty in everything, you just have to look at them the right way.

A repeating pattern found in fence posts or bars or indeed rivets on a gate can describe infinity within a confined space, creating the illusion of forever, thus capturing in a photo something that is otherwise hard to comprehend. Not only this of course but it satisfies the scientist in me to see the beauty of patterns, the patterns within nature and the artificial patterns imposed on the world. Patterns are everywhere and it is hard to stop seeing them once you start.

The concept of the abstract is another that is hard to explain but there is a challenge in showing the beauty in the mundane. It is not hard to see the beauty in a spectacular landscape or flower, but to uncover the hidden beauty in a set of railings or prison bars is a much more exciting challenge. What is true of art is also true of life. The more you can look inside an ordinary situation and see it in a different way the more enjoyment you will find in life. If you can see beauty in a row of doors your life will never be dull.

I am not sure this explains my views on the abstract as well as it could but no doubt it will be a subject I return to, as it is, after all, an obsession!

There is a lot to be said for looking at the world a little bit differently, a bit like wearing 2 watches for no real reason to see who notices!