Author - Heroine's Journey
The more our technology grows and develops it seems that the worse human behaviour becomes. And the more crippling the choices for our lives we make, like electing sociopathic presidents, who make money into a sacred entity, and those that have the most, into gods.
Earth religion or spirituality is a term used mostly in the context of nature worship which is a system of religion based on the veneration of natural phenomena. It existed everywhere, in Europe, Asia, etc and in America it is still in existence through the Aboriginal Culture. When it was taken over by Christianity, Judaism and the other more modern religions, we lost our respect for our environment and earth and started viewing it as subservient to us, as no longer a living, breathing, organic entity.
This has been the start of our exploitation and abuse of Nature, our total lack of regard. And as we continued in this trend, money and technology became more important and relevant in our lives, until today we value machines, robots and concrete more than trees.
The result of devaluing our earth is a devaluation of ourselves as living breathing, organic humans, thus violence against women and children and elderly is rampant.
What comes next? Our demise? We can only hope to to limit and reverse the path we are torpedoing along. Technology and science will NOT save us, despite our fervent wishes. Because they belong in the hands of the people in power who have the same sociopathic beliefs as the presidents. So science is being used to genetically modify race horses so they can make more money for them.
Art will also not save us because it no longer reminds of our beauty and transcendent values but is used to decorate walls and titillate our more basic senses. Art needs to sell, so it is a slave to the marketplace.
Can we go back to worshipping nature as the earth religion people did? I think not. We know too much, it wouldn't be real, probably just play-acting. Do we hide in our own religions, and become fanatics and limited in our view. That is a danger worse than play-acting. Instead of emulating the prophets of those religions we made them into killer heroes.If Christ was alive he would probably shut down most churches and that goes for Temples and Mosques if their prophets lived now.
All organized belief systems have become usurped by the powers at be and pursuit of money.
Yet in Nature, in the Woods or even a Park, when we immerse ourselves, we begin to get an experience of what being alive really means, a gladness over takes us and deep relaxation and we start to feel a little grateful for the trees that give us the air we breathe. But soon the weekend jaunt is over and we are back in the rat race....
Real artists do not have fun giving birth to their creations, they are usually tortured souls that delve deep into their psyche to produce and create what they do...and may feel an ecstatic union with their Muse for a moment...but it is not a game to them, like it is too often with many new emerging artists, especially ones who shun the thought of Art College...
If we were discussing Professional Singers...everyone can sing and be made happier and more creative for it, does that mean we should all be on stage and that it is our vocation to be a singer in this life time? Digital Visual Art done skillfully and beautifully is and can be great art...if it is done by a professional artist whose vocation it is to be one and they know their digital tools well...unfortunately in the visual art world today people find it it easy with new technology to put something realistic down on a canvas with a transfer without needing to even know the basics of drawing and art, and light and shadow and perspective, etc...and feel like they are professional artists because they are selling (which is never a criterion in the art field)...
Lets face it, it is good to be creative and happy in your life which singing in the shower and fooling around with paint can do for you BUT it is not the same thing as being a professional singer and professional artist...we have lost our clarity in this regard with the advent of all the new technology...and in our pursuit of hedonism we have also lost the notion that we came to earth to pursue one special vocation which maybe creative accounting for example, and doing art as a hobby for fun...and having a creative life generally...
Capitalism and the pursuit of money has confused the world that only art that sells is of value and that we are all jolly artists having fun and making money...
As Edgar Degas said, "“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do”.
Friendly Pixels a new series, I am developing came about from my need to create some order out of the world’s present chaos; the tendency towards totalitarianism; a dismaying lack of respect for the feminine in every aspect of life, including the arts, where a majority of graduates from art college are women and not even a tenth of them are being shown in galleries or museums.
And last, but not least, a bridge from the expulsive art with no thought behind it, like the new “spin art”, created by throwing paint on a moving canvas and spinning it around, to something not totally regressively traditional. The spin fad is not unlike perhaps the roulette table, pointing to our present penchant for gambling, leaving everything to chance rather than thinking about how and what to create and what does it communicate and doing some work on ourselves in the process.
Our intellectualism is dying even in academia circles. Some part-time professors are having to top up their salaries with sex work.
Also I am rebelling somewhat from the push towards digital arts, art that is factory polished and lacking in an intuitive hand-made feel. Thus the pixels, except mine are friendlier I feel, because art done by hand is still more alive and capable of expressing emotions.
My most recent work, “Mettle” is about the feminine needing to have strength or backbone grit in our times, which does not necessarily mean brittle rigidity but more the willowy bendable softness and flexibility of a willow tree that bends with the wind but does not break.
The saying that having balls is being tough is wrong, balls are in fact very fragile, as man’s violent strength will easily crumble under fire. The vagina, the feminine however, can take a pounding as they say. Surrender isn’t about being passive, it is about being open, to life to intuition to the Muse. It is not an ego vomit on canvas. It takes practice and skill to be open to that. It takes some order.
I am shocked to discover that young artists have bought into the cynicism of modern art and elevated garbage to a holy realm, just because fraudsters like Jeff Koons are making a lot of money at stealing other people’s art and turning it into kitschy pieces by adding sentimentality to elements that once were moments of beauty.
In the above article we see a b&w photo of two children sharing a touching moment by Jean-François Baudet being turned into a silly ceramic figurine by Jeff Koons for which he gets sued. But since he has made a lot of money fooling people with his kitschy art he can pay the court costs. Young artists quickly came to his defence by suggesting that Koons is great because he exposes kitsch, but that is just a rationalization for creating garbage and making young artists believe that is what they should be doing as well, making them believe that a beautiful photograph of children is something not worthwhile only cynicism rules. No wonder there are so many monsters and cartoons in art now.
Young artists think that touching moments of love and life are kitsch. They are saying that even photographing children, pregnant women, loving couples is in itself kitsch.
Jean-François Baudet is a REAL artist, showing the beauty of life, while Jeff Koons, on the other hand is only a stupid imitator with nothing to say except that life and love are pointless sentimentalities that we should ignore and be left with what? Violence of course...
What concerns me when I posted this article, was the response of young artists who defended Koons and called him great, thinking that because he makes a lot of money he must be doing something right. There is no aesthetic discernment in their evaluations, it is all based on money and fame in our day and age. I am curious what they are teaching young minds in art colleges these days?
Also people like Koons who are regularly sued for plagiarism have given them the permission they sought to simply steal not only ideas but whole styles and almost exact replicas while signing their own name to art pieces. Theft is rampant…corruption is rampant and cynicism is spreading like wild fire. The art world is just a miniature slice of the rest of society, where those same debased values rule.
Originality in thought and in execution is slowly dying in art, by being buried under a mountain of garbage just like our poor earth.
A visual artist needs to be like a musician that has learned his scales well first then plays other people's music then composes his own. However in our industrial, materialistic world, visual artists start selling their scale works immediately thinking that is success. Would anyone listen to scales only at a concert, no. We would learn to listen however to well played other composer's music at a concert, so artists that paint like some famous artists are getting noticed now. But the ultimate in music is when you can compose your own and captivate people. That is what a visual artist should aspire to, getting to a stage when they are composing their own work. This however can not happen without first the learning of scales and learning from master's art. So just spitting or vomiting on canvas is not enough...Our industrial society however values selling and money, ergo Damien Hirst is born, who has achieved notoriety through being a shrewed business man, knowing how to make money with his kitschy diamond studded skulls...so do we really know any more what is good art?
Art done for well being should be called Art Therapy and not Professional Art...somebody bought my 9 year old granddaughters cat painting, that does not mean my grand-daughter is a professional artist...
Why is mythology so popular in modern art? Visual artists are looking to ancient mythologies as references in their works. MOMA recently had an exhibition called, “The Modern Myth: Drawing,
Mythologies in Modern Times”.
And not just Classical Mythology but Futuristic Ones as well, as invented by the artists and then given a name and storyline.
The enduring appeal of course to modern artists is that they can interpret the myths through their own personal experience. Rather than confront their reality head-on, which is often conflictual, full of humanities’ sufferings and woes and negativity (now a word synonymous with sin), artists are rejecting real life as is and creating make belief phantasies of their own choosing, often void of any meaning whatsoever, human or otherwise. At least when using classical mythological symbolism, there was evidence of human longing or traits but with Futuristc mythology there only seems to be a wishful wanting for plastic perfection, a Goddess Xena, with big boobs who wields a mighty sword on those who are less perfect, and makes the world right again.
The human element of empathy is gone in this vision. Only a tiresome, shallow barbie-like doll of existence, no psychology here, no depth, no understanding of why a human could be negative, or an analysis of society or politics in any way. Paula Prego is a great contemporary artist that most young artists, who aspire to never be, “negative’”, shun because she speaks volumes about society and human relations.
So what is left, something a magazine calls “Beautiful Bizarre”, kitschy, smooth, expressionless doll like figures with a little something meant to spark interest. BORING!
In wondering why young artists are running away from the real, and humane, I thought maybe it is because they are on over-load of information from news journals and social media about how ugly we have made this world. Sometimes I feel the same way when I see Trump’s face, or massive hurricanes drowning people, but I cry then can hopefully carry on with daily existence. But maybe the young people don’t have the stamina or strength anymore as they did not ever have a world that wasn’t portrayed like this. Unlike my generation that had a naively free childhood from all this information age.
Even the rise of popularity of “Mindfullness” has not changed this trend of alien worship, futuristic hero worship and plastic imaging in art…(The AGO is having a big exhibition of “Monsters” soon), all it has managed to accomplish thus far is have people say, no to negativity of any kind here, which basically means don’t disturb me with anything real, I am so stressed I can’t handle anything more…don’t bother relating to me because I am on the computer with my own private thoughts and visions, only pleasant ones of course. We have regressed to infantilism as contemporary artists and it makes me want to cry because it means that nothing will ever change if everyone is detached from reality!
I am not stoked by this trend!
“Artist Entrepreneur” is a an oxymoron…if you are real artist you are not an entrepreneur. A business person can be creative but he is not an artist.
Gallery owners and consultants seem to think it is all about them and the artist is only there to pay the rent and give him/her a comission.
It is time artists were acknowledge for creating visuals that help transcend this bleak and brutal world because they communicate with their souls, not yet jaded by the marketplace. Even Jesus threw out the moneychangers from the temples, due to that activity being incompatible with spiritual life. Art should be given a chance to thrive in a space similar to a temple, where spirit and creativity combine to produce an inspiration for the people. Instead it is all about making artists into moneychangers.
And if not, then at least let them be useful as community activists with what they create, so moneychangers in our our society are telling artists what to create, soul be damn! The clinck of coins is music to the ears of all the art administrators in Canada, who are making a living dictating to the artists and bullying them into paths they normally would not go on but for the fact they have to eat.
A sorry state of affairs I say…when help for artists is conditional on them becoming business tycoons and community developers, with no time for soul searching which is what art is really about. Then when their souls dry up from internal tears over the years what is left? Kitsch of course, what else can they produce in that diminished capacity!
There is no way to escape the natural aging process. Older women have often been accused of witchcraft, especially because of some features that they have due to aging.
These include: red eyes; wrinkled faces; living alone; and maybe even the keeping of pets such as cats, which are said to be animals used by a witch for witchcraft purposes. The media is also to blame since it fuels and perpetuates untruths about women. Even television programs point to the fact that there is something wrong with older women. Taking cartoons for example, one will always get the sense that witchcraft is practiced by old women living alone, making evil spells and potions. Wizards (old men) are on the other hand sweet and powerful beings doing good in the world. Sexually, men are seen as more attractive longer than women. Even the taking of Viagra is no longer perceived as an option but a necessity for older men.
Today getting old is not only a disease, it is a taboo. Aging is a word that conveys fear and a threat of social rejection. An aging body may be perceived as deteriorated, having no social worth. Cosmetic companies and cosmetic surgeons through the media are making millions perpetuating the myth that to be a valuable member of society you have to fight the aging process by buying their products. Aging is increasingly deprived of value, although with a milder slope for men in comparison to women, and for the rich in comparison to the poor. The taboo is therefore associated with social discrimination.
Aging reminds us of death, the biggest taboo of all, and the older you are the closer to death you are perceived to be in our materialistic society. Which is nonsense, because the fact is that people of all ages die. Our fear of death makes us fearful of aging as well and repulsed by the whole process. Our society sees beauty only of the flesh and does not look beyond, to the beauty of a wise wrinkled face of an elder, ripe with experience, detached humour and wisdom. After all it is the ripe fruit that is juicy and sweet, and not the sour, green unripe fruit of youth.
Someone just said to me. "Who is to judge what is good art.'"
And I responded with, "I think the answer is clear...bonafide artists with education and people who have studied art for a long time...there is a trend now that anybody is an artist and if it pleases someone that is enough...it isn't...art is a profession and should be respected as such...I have 30+ years painting and doing art behind me as well as a degree so I think what i observe might have some value..."
Please note...drawing perfect eyelashes does not make a work great...the eyes need to have life, warmth and light in them.. Adding a tear under a dead eye does not mean your work is showing sorrow. Don't bother copying perfect eyes from photographs, instead make your lines and shapes dance on the canvas.
It was YEARS after my college degree, and graduate studies that I was finally ready to even call myself an artist. I always referred to myself as a "student of the arts". I had such respect for the title of "artist" that it took me many years of intense work and study before I felt I could assume that crown which i held sacred. Many people these days slap that lable to themselves like a 3 cent postage stamp....
People write to me saying art is subjective, meaning what you like....but is that really true? I think not. Take those technically almost correct works done on black velvet of cowboys...some people might call that good art because it appeals to them. It isn't great art however, not even fine art in any sense of the word.
I feel good art is a combination of talent, perseverence, education and feeling. It has to come from the mind, heart and soul of an artist and connect with the heart, mind and soul of the viewer, touch the emotions in some way. I also feel that art history is part of an artist's education.