Other people’s art blogs – I came across a great one recently called “Art Calling”. Sarah Zoutewelle-Morris is an artist/writer working in Holland. She’s working on her second book on art and recently we were talking…
Do check out her blog yourself but I have included an extract from her writing here because I think that it’s quite relevant for art in these troubled times.
I happen to be wrestling just now with the part of my book in progress that is about ‘Art and Livelihood’. My heart was never wholly into selling my art as a life goal. I wanted a more collaborative, connected, kind of art. I wanted my art to do good, add value to life…the kind of art that carries a connection with life’s mysteries and large questions, the kind of art that can soothe souls and inspire people to either make art themselves or to make changes in their lives to let in more play, imagination, connection.
The danger in approaching art as commodity/product is that this aspect is too often lost in the fray to get the work seen and sold. An artist starting out with all her values intact can easily get overtaken by market values. But I want to make a case for the alternative to seeing art, like everything else in this society, as a transaction.
Seeing the world as it is now, seeing old systems collapsing and creativity needed for renewal in every part of life, I would ask, do we need more art products? Or do we need artists leading authentic lives, creating from their heart and soul to bring these much needed values into the world?
Yes, well that image above is a drawing I had in Artisterium V in Tbilisi, Georgia a couple of years ago. It reads: “Where there’s art there’s Hope”. I also had a version in English in a group show entitled “Future perfect” in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery in Dublin. It was part of a larger installation of drawings that I put together for a few different shows. (see below) I was thinking about austerity, poverty and homelessness at the time and I thought that drawings in black marker on cardboard would be more effective than some fancy oilpaint on canvas, that this would tell the story just as well… maybe even better?
And in a way, aren’t artists also on the margins of society? Does our government care at all about art or culture? (deep breath) no, I’m not going there – I just wanted to support what Sarah was writing about. “Art and Livelihood” – that’s a tricky one because making art is not about making money at all. That’s a whole different ball game. I think that artists have an innate drive to make art and that’s all there is to it. They get an idea and they just… follow it, see where it leads them, hope for the best. And once they’ve latched onto an idea, they’re “incorrigible”. Well, that’s what I’m told anyway 🙂 But making art helps us. When it works, it just feels great. It gives us hope. – And it’s good if it helps others too.
Now, if you like, you can see more of my work at:
http://emacl.com/ – and more of Sarah’s at: