When is a good time to make art? Right now. What is an acceptable outcome of making art? Fun. What if it’s not fun? Then it’s not your art. You are trying to make it be some way and not letting it reveal itself. And it’s self is you. Art is a fingerprint. Yours can not be like anyone else’s. The reason to do it is to know what you would make if only you let yourself make it.
I used to want to be “in” the art world so I did things like turn a bunch of art into photographic slides which necessitated formatting small Avery labels in Microsoft word with the appropriate art info. Do you think that got me in the art world? Mostly it got me shelves of non joy sparking detritus that have lived in an Ikea cupboard for decades.
I could say, okay, forget art, eat more chips, call more friends. Go camping! I don’t know. Finding things to pass the time isn’t difficult. But I don’t want to forget art. Is it okay to do art and not tell the art world? Yes!
For me the art world was a legitimate seeming way to justify a lot of present day activity. Like an imaginary rubber band that held all the art together.
Art is not a ticket to the art world. Art is not like a dollar where if there is one why not have a hundred. Art is not for hoarding. Art is not for spending. Art is not a product. Art is not a thing. Art is not for the future.
Art is for right now. Art is the most authentic way to be in a friendship with oneself. Art is an activity. Art is a date with the self. Art is a revelation.
2 thoughts on “Art is for Today”
Oooooo, this is so good. Thank you for writing it. Sometimes I think about my photographs and I say to myself, “Why do I do this? Other people do it so much better. I’m not adding anything of significance to the world.” And then I think about stopping. And right away, I say, “No! I will continue doing this because the doing brings me more pleasure than anything else. What would I do if I didn’t do art? Be miserable.” . . . I really like the piece you included with this essay. I like it purely for itself, but it also brings William Blake to mind. Maybe it’s his The Ancient of Days (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ancient_of_Days).
Thank you so much Linda! What a lovely comment. I think the art we make is so much more satisfying than anything we could ever buy. It’s not about comparison or competition but knowledge. I am so glad it resonated. Very kind of you to make a William Blake reference! I was making surreal paintings on top of experimental photographs at the time. Still lots and lots of faces. I have always been drawn to making faces!