Saturday, July 23, 2016

Art Blog: Is ART Stupid?

Way back in the late 70's, I was at a college party. All the party people were artists and art students. I was one of them. I was in full tough art girl apparel. I was proudly clad in a flannel shirt, jeans, and of course, combat boots. I was an art warrior back then. I remember trying to find something fun to drink. I hated beer and liquor wasn't my thing. I was just learning how to get drunk back in those days. I think I decided a vodka and orange juice would be palatable. I probably haven't had a Screwdriver since that party!
I remember having a blast and feeling so proud at that party. I was an artist and felt so cool and hip. I was so young back then. The world was my oyster. However, there was one thing which happened that I have remembered for decades. In fact, I remember it so well it haunts me. There was one elder artist at the party. He was a well respected sculptor. People crowded around him just to glean some of his cultural charisma. He was a nice looking man. He had salt and pepper hair. I remember he was wearing some kind of tweed jacket over a paint stained tee shirt with jeans. He was old, but he was cool. I was too shy to even talk to him.
As the evening progressed, I would wander by the circle of people talking to this esteemed artist. At one point, he said something that is branded into my brain to this day. When asked about his current work he said:

"I don't make art anymore. Art is stupid."

After he said that, I remember the quiet in the room. He went on to explain he had other interests and sculpture or making any kind of art seemed futile to him at this point in his life.
I was stunned. As a young artist / art student, I didn't know how to digest such a statement. I really didn't. Art was my life. I lived for art. How could he say such a thing?
Well now after living life for too many decades, I think I understand what he meant. For the first time in my life, I find it harder and harder to make art. I keep asking myself "What is the point?" I think I have lost that "Art is my life" kind of feeling. I think I have lost my mojo or at least my allegiance to ART. It feels so horrible to think the one thing you have loved all your life now feels useless to life in general. It is like believing in a relationship for decades only to find out before a big anniversary that wasn't what you thought it was at all.
I have to think more about all this. Maybe I will write another blog post to explain why I am so over it all. Until then, I ask this simple question:
IS ART STUPID?