Sunday, January 19, 2014


Wrapping up a weekend theme of serendipitous bears: Here's an example of a transitional piece demonstrating the "visual note-taking" of a reference sketch done from a model/mount. One can see the underdrawing of the initial pencil rough that indicates areas of darkness, which will in turn gradually morph into more marks that, through increased density of hatching, will render the form with pen & ink (technically Sharpie + ballpoint) and give dimensionality via gradations of value.
One of the common experiences for those of us who toil in relative obscurity and devote so much time on what to many others - if not according to societal standards in general - is perceived as useless endeavors like making art, is the question:

"...what's that for?"

This is usually an innocent query asked upon seeing an artist actively working on something, and the tacit assumption is that one must have a specific reason to create, and by implication that there has to be a reason, a purpose, an end-use for such effort - it's for something. Rarely is it left alone with a basic understanding that it might just be all that you need to create a legitimate, validating expression unto itself.
As an example, ostensibly most of my demos or other drawings done out in public are for a pedestrian purpose, but they always have an ulterior motive behind them, as in just showing the simple, unassuming pleasure of drawing. Whether it's ever used for anything or not, it's an activity that has its own intrinsic rewards, oftentimes unquantifiable. It's enriching, therapeutic, amusing, escapist/avoidance, vanity, a habit, boredom... any number of reasons could apply - assuming that one is even needed to begin with. In fact that's completely out of the realm of experience for many folks who otherwise might actually enjoy creating something just for the hell of it.

Problem is, this infects the "career" and creates and perpetuates a notorious stereotype:
“A fine artist, (successful, credential-festooned, with inherited money), told me that I was too focused on commerce to be an artist. A real artist endured poverty. Being poor was edifying, filled with moral uplift. I spent weeks in a murderous rage.” - Molly Crabapple
... which evolves into a feedback loop of cultural and societal dysfunction:
“ …if you don’t value this – then do you really think people are going to keep putting all the time and effort into doing this, if no one is making any money off it?”David Byrne
Well, could be worse I suppose - one could always teach art.
“The increasing exploitation of contingent faculty members is one dimension of an employment strategy sometimes called the "two-tiered" or "multitiered" labor system” - Richard Moser

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