Today I'm going to air my thoughts about different stuff:
- benefits of working with charcoal
- amateur vs pro
- OK Go and going global
Charcoal is such a gentle and easy material to work with. I've got two different kinds, one round in its form and one square, each very different in texture and fastness. It is easy to apply to either canvas or wood, while it creates shadows and shapes that are easy to 'push around' as needed. I can't quite remember, what I used before I was introduced to charcoal. From then on the pastel crayons came into use, which helps create a firmer depth in the colors or their shadows. In time the 'finger painting' part came along - got down with it and got dirty!
Recently I coincidentally discovered a charcoal pencil. Not a regular pencil, but one with proper charcoal. This may seem ridiculous to many artists out there, however I don't have access to more than one rather limited art supplier in this town, but there's an office supplier, who sometimes takes in different supplies for art amateurs, and some of these are good for usage in various ways. This pencil enables me to add much more detail to the work. And I love working with it. It's cheap, so I'll have to go and get loads more, before they're sold out and never get in stock again. As to shopping online for materials and tools, I have found myself to be a bit old-fashioned as I need to feel and see the materials and tools. The upside to this method of buying is, that sometimes you actually discover tools, you didn't think suitable for what you're doing, but turn out to be just what you were looking for, without knowing it.
Amateur vs pro
While on the subject of hobbies... I still haven't done a complete exhibit and thus I must render myself to the hobby-state. Or must I? When is a painter professional? After a sale? After 10 sales? After entering a gallery? After publishing a book? I don't know. Even though I feel professional and have sold quite a few paintings over a short period, I must admit, that my self-esteem still has a lot of growing up to do. I am very humble, I suppose.
On the other hand, some of the amateur artwork I have seen can be split into two categories; the first being the creative steam vent, a lot of people use to direct their focus away from rutines, stressful events or trying times in their lives. It's important and functions as a creative extraction fan. The other is well thought through. It derives from talent that is either nurtured or just sprouting out, sort of out of control. And it's simply not for sale. The ongoing discussion about what defines art - well, if it's the price you put on it, mine is regular crap in many artist's eyes, or so I think.
OK Go & going global
About a week ago, I posted a random pic of one of the wine boxes, I re-decorate on the Facebook-wall of the band OK Go. One of their lyrics had popped into my mind, while working on it, and it somehow fitted perfectly with the Buster Keaton-clipping, I'd added. The next day, the band itself had 'liked' it - this was not expected, or what I'd try to achieve. But the fulfillment of being seen by someone, who is not only famous with their 37+ million views on Youtube, but who I admire for their output and own creative thinking - well, I was flabbergasted to say the least! A few other fans of their's have liked it too, and you sort of grow with amazement over the fact, how social networking can also work. I've been noticed by someone outside of my town...
Where I live, Facebook is primarily used for keeping each other updated on how you feel, where you are (physically and emotionally), which dish you're cooking, what your kids have just said that was sort of funny and who did what to hurt your feelings etc. Way back I used it for that as well, I'm no saint. But coincidentally sharing your work because the inspiration for it came by sort of randomly while still conveying an important message, and getting the immense feedback is a whole new way of using social networks to me, which I must admit, I appreciate much more. I recommend it to all artists. I love it!
Often on a sub-consious level, I use many lyrics in a poetic sense in my work. Extracts from different songs and artist become relevant at one point or another. Sometimes they are erased, while at other times they are emphasized. To me it's essential to listen to music while I work. OK Go never struck me as a band, I'd quote in my works, since it's their visual creativity that is perhaps the most striking of all to me. Poetry by Patti Smith (the New York poem) and an old Edith Piaf-lyric (The Autumn Leaves) included in paintings sold off very quickly, but also Bombay Bicycle Club (Dust on the ground & Ghost) had a way of finding their way in there and sold off too!
On that note, some of you might think: "Hey, that's violating the copyright laws!" I was a bit nervous at first, but someone shared this quote by Jim Jarmush (film director and artist) on Facebook (!) one day:
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.”Thanks, Jim - it's what we in the teaching world call intertextuality. You could also call it inspiration. You see it in films, shorts or motion picture, plays, novels, any sort of artwork - even political quotations are used in many different ways out of contexts. Less we forget Arnie's 'I'll be back!' You hear it more often than you'd care to admit. In any case, I thank the muses for inspiring me and being there in times of darkness.
The pieces in which I quote the above mentioned artists can be seen on either my Facebook-page or on Flickr.