Was out at a function and got socialising. It is interesting talking to people just to hear their ideas. Ideas can run so deep. It actually helped me define my own work and where it fits without even talking about it at all. The guy had built a water feature that snaked through his garden. He has an eye for detail. He likes certain rocks and how the water catches the light as it moves over them. We all can have an eye for aesthetics. Maybe the neighbour doesn’t and that says a lot about them. Maybe they start building a water feature and don’t really finish it leaving a kind of green sedimentary pond.
The story itself leads to the description ‘abortion’ to describe the failed aesthetics, the aesthetics of giving up. The primacy of clean lines and light that glistens off rocks in an Arcadia is the ideal. The primacy of organisation and thinking. The primacy of planning and executing to a fine detail.
Of course this is the primary problem of some art and aesthetics today. The over planned heavily orchestrated micro managers heaven. When I look at old graffiti photos the element of spontaneity is high. It seems refreshing when I see these works. Personally I feel something that balances both extremes is quite interesting. Although I would er toward spontaneity.
The idea of failed aesthetics or of ugliness and say an over grown garden full of weeds brings me back to my first video work at university which was the piece, “Weeds do not exist”. The words just sitting on a screen declaring this statement. Maybe weeds are simply the mismanagement of human society where only weeds can exist when society stops thinking. Nature on the other hand is always thinking. It is destruction and chaos, life and death and all in between. We have to outsmart nature but always revere it. What we can learn from nature is it isn’t biased. It lets anything exist, even what we describe as weeds.
Over the years I have tried to make art that is uneasy or a little difficult. I have tried to dramatise the feelings from the past of having known people from graffiti who went into serious crime. I don’t in any way want to glorify violence or any of those types of attitudes. Some of my writing has tried to dramatise or encapsulate the mixed feelings around violence. Graffiti was violent but that isn’t what I have done with my graffiti or video or any artistic expression I have looked into. It isn’t a fascination with any of these types of people but with how I can try to understand why people took the paths they did. Why gangs or youth culture can spiral out of control. People can tend to frown on graffiti or art forms that have certain embellishments that are not seen as healthy. Street art gets the green light as it doesn’t usually cover the same territory as graffiti.
Sometimes I wonder why I bothered exploring difficult terrain over the years. Mostly people looked bewildered at some of my work in group exhibitions. They didn’t really know what my work was about and it is easier to get a prescribed point of view in established circles. I have largely been unsuccessful but it is mostly my own doing. Art for me is also a kind of exploration into the human psyche but it isn’t dressed up as art but expresses itself through a type of psychosis. The structures fall away and it is just you and art.
Went for a bike ride today. It was a good day for it. Slightly overcast but moderate UV with moments of sunshine. I realised that I am fighting a losing battle on many fronts. For a long time I have just stuck at it. For example I have kept up my aerosol work and have made work that feels to me to have a bit of integrity. I sold a couple of works recently which was good but it’s just not consistent. My writing has become a trickle as I deal with more visual work. The thing is I have a lot of talents but I don’t necessarily use them in my work. I try to reference things that people don’t necessarily know or care about. The stuff that I am good at like realistic portraits or that kind of stuff just seems so boring.
The upside is I have a lot of excitement in my work. It has an edge and is interesting. The only solution I can see is music. Music can be a little bit different and people can get into that. Visual work is harder to get people into. Music is universal. I would like to make some music for a change anyway. I can’t see miracles being performed but at least I won’t feel I am in the same rut. There is a lot of visual work that I will only do if I am being paid and nobody seems keen to pay me. Also I am fussy who I work with because I want to get paid rather than screwed over. Over the last four years I have been getting into sound based work and I have exhibited it. But also have had a lot of options with visual work. Great walls and in a way the opportunities are too good to miss. At the same time though I am not necessarily opening doors. Why does popularity have to be so boring?
Have made a few aerosol works this month and Easter is here so time for a break. Really went for it but you can burn out. Meditation, the park and a few laps of a tidal pool helped me get it together. I am looking at doing captions in some current and upcoming work. It helps bring a political edge without being too blatantly obvious like some street art. I am quite unpopular amongst up and coming graffiti artists because I am friendly toward street art and public murals. I don’t apoligise because really I appreciate anything that is interesting or worthwhile. My tastes are particular but also I can understand the point of art and creativity even if I don’t particularly enjoy it. There is a lot of public art I don’t personally like but I can appreciate the skill and effort. It is easy enough to undermine it verbally but what does it prove.
The young up and coming graffiti artists want to disapprove of these creative strategies because they seem professional and lame. They seem too acceptable and pedestrian which can impinge on their activities but not every work is impinging. It is simply existing within the space and in some cases uses it better than the graffiti artists did. There are always exceptions. Not every public mural or piece of street art can really function in certain spaces but neither in some cases can graffiti. It comes down to appropriateness. Everyone these days feels threatened, they feel that their ideals are being challenged so the younger graffiti artists obliterate a beautiful mural. Some works I can understand especially the stuff that looks like a shampoo commercial but why target it? Why underline the point? What the attitude does is to stop graffiti from developing and moving forward. Anyone who doesn’t fit in becomes a threat. Luckily there are a few different positions.
There is a lot of street art and public art I don’t like at all but as I said I can understand and appreciate the effort. If my own work which to my own vision is still graffiti is unappreciated by these hardcore types so be it. Essentially I am just a creative person who makes images and writes as well makes sound based works. What do I care? Luckily for me I am not stuck on the art grant gravy train or gallery gravy train I can do things with my own money. I may miss out on expensive holidays and have to struggle but my work isn’t owned by anyone but myself. Thankfully some people collect my work.