Sunday, January 28, 2007

Making Connections

One difficult decision for all artists is the subject of their work. What do I want to say with this painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.? What is important to me? What kind of visual statement do I want to create and share with the world? I have heard you should make art about what you know. Ok well, let’s see here. I see palm trees every day. Do I want to paint tropical landscapes? NOPE. Hey! People are all around me. Maybe I could do portraiture? No chance. For me, what I know is the stuff inside my head. So the next question for me is how do those snippets of information get in there and how do I make connections in order to make art?
After reading about A.M. Baggs and watching her video (yesterday’s post), I was reminded of a piece I did a few years ago titled HIZZUM SKIZZUM. Like I mentioned, I have worked most of my life with individuals with various challenges. Most of them have had mental and emotional disabilities. I am very familiar with the “system” which surrounds them and for the most part, I am not a fan of many institutional strategies. I am not going to try to be a Monday morning quarterback or an amateur shrink and tell them how to do their jobs. My job is that of an artist, so I speak with images/words. That is why I did the Hizzum piece. I “appropriated” the figure from an image of Australian Aboriginal Art. The pic of the primitive art struck me because I made the CONNECTION of how this figure reminded me of some of the individuals in our society to this day. My first thought was how our world has come so far (in some ways) and hasn’t evolved at all in other ways. Un-civilization is alive and well in our culture. I am not talking about the people who have the challenges. The aspects of this discussion that I call uncivilized are the ways we chose to help or not to help people with (dis)abilities. That is all I have to say. So my art stands for the rest of my commentary on that issue.
The next connection was made instantly when I took a look at that piece again today. I had been working in my studio yesterday and I was looking at this little drawing of a funny figure a child gave me as a present. It caught my eye because I am working on a new series of little paintings that have little figures in them. I picked up the tattered little magic marker fellow and saw the same life essence in him as my Hizzum Skizzum figure. So the connection went A.M. Baggs->Hizzum Skizzum->Child’s drawing->New work
This reminded me how our mind is such a marvel. We store tidbits of info here and there. Then all of a sudden as new thoughts enter, those little tidbits jump forward. Connections are then made.

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