The year has started and I've been thinking about what I really want to do with this blog. I know that I want to talk about some of my online friends and finds that are truly exceptional. There are so many folks who have helped me, the least I can do is thank them in some way. So you'll see that from time to time.
The thing that I've decided is dearest to my heart is my personal philosophy about art and craft, and how I keep my creative juices flowing.
See, I love the many forums that I frequent - I've made many friends. But very few of them want or allow the type of critique that I believe makes my work stronger, better, or more artful. That isn't necessarily a bad thing - we have all heard the horror stories of flame wars and such. But I'm looking for conversations about what wire art really is - what holds wire work back as art. Moving beyond mere salability. And I'm probably gonna get in trouble doing it.
Because I'm here to tell you folks, the fact that one's work sells DOES NOT make it art. The fact of calling oneself an 'artisan' don't make it so, either.
This may be a moot discussion, because Lord knows I can't define the subject in exacting terms. But I know what I feel it isn't. So here we go, join in if you feel inclined......
An artist never sits on their laurels. Try new things, don't get comfortable. Art ain't comfortable for the artist. It is a stretch, it involves doubt, it involves courage to move beyond doubt. It means admitting that you don't know something, or need to learn a new way of accomplishing your work.It means looking at your work with fresh eyes and seeing the flaws that can be corrected without making excuses for not doing so. There is art in the admission, even if the work doesn't seem to reflect it yet.
Make an art of being honest with yourself. Compare your work with others - if it looks like everybody elses, it probably isn't art. If you and six of your friends have pieces that you could trade to each other's Etsy shops and nobody would know, it probably isn't art. I'm not talking about individual photo styles here - I'm talking about the actual pieces when you analyze them.
If there is someone who you think is head and shoulders better than you - do what you can to learn why you think that way! It will make your work that much closer to being art. If you really can't think of anything new - try refining a technique or method for performing your work - that is more artful than doing the same things over and over again badly.
Oh yeah, before I forget - don't give me the hackneyed line that you don't care if your work is 'art' or not. That is just purest baloney (yes, I wanted to say bulls**t), because the archives on every forum I have ever seeen are so full of the discussions about people aspiring to the title, that I gag when I see them. We all aspire - just admit it, and you'll be that much closer.
'Artist' is not a title, for no one can bestow it upon you. You have to earn it through work. Art will flow through you, you will not be able to stop it, even if you throw up every roadblock known to man. One might just as well call an artist a conduit, because their work speaks of yearning for life and hope and possibilities that we have all dreamed of in our deepest hearts. Art resonates, because it is an expression of the force that made us.
OK, down off the soapbox.
Watch here in the next few days - I'm going to start posting some free tutorials for basic wire skills.
'Til then, God and Art are in the details.........