Friday, March 25, 2011

Speaking of Art

What fun. I picked up a check for $48 yesterday. Payment in full for the $60 abstract painting I had in a local show. The curator made $12 off of it. It wasn’t even supposed to be in the show as I didn’t like it and only included it when my wife said, “aren’t you taking that one?” So I did. I don’t even have a photo of it and I’m hoping to forget that I ever painted it. But…now I’m thinking about the fact that someone paid $60 for it. My first painting sold for $20 and it felt more like a donation. Small canvas and small subject. But $60 means something serious in these times. Should I paint some more that are just as mundane as that was? If I wasn’t just a retiree enjoying himself, then I would probably do that. That would become my new favorite style. For the $bucks$. But a style in art is ephemeral unless you get lucky.
Speaking of luck. Bad luck. The big time art world is being rocked by a judge’s decision regarding a ‘school’ of art. It’s called ‘Appropriation Art’. Really. As I understand it, one ‘artist’ would take copied photographs from another artist’s book and then add things to the photos such as painting guitars and glasses on the subjects in the photos. And then sell the results for millions. Yes, millions. I’ll never understand the major art world because these were really ugly paintings. Sorry, photos. The problem lies in the fact that the judge interpreted and made her decision based on what she thought were the motives of the artist. Bad art or not, no one can know what motivates an artist. (Certainly not a judge with a S and J in their MBTI. Artists are almost always N and P with some F thrown in.) Then to make matters worse, she says that the gallery had an obligation to determine the motives of the artist. In the meantime the pictures in question are not to be shown in any manner…do the new owners (yes, someone bought them) cover them with velvet and only lift the velvet late at night when they are certain that no one is around to see the transgression? What is certain is the fact that these pictures, because of the notoriety, are now worth even more…if that is even possible. Can I include a photo here? One stolen from the internet? Sure, why not? Millions have already seen them.  
I was reading some of the comments on the case and it was brought out that almost all artists are ‘guilty’ of appropriation at some time or another. We take ideas and styles from other artists all of the time. And now that I’m working on some collage pieces…I’m definitely guilty!
I have a large collection of digital images of art. Whenever I see a piece that interests me, I right click on it and save it to a folder of other images. I have some artist friends that are afraid to display their work on-line because someone might steal it. A thief like me, I suppose. But what would I do with it once I had stolen it? I use my collection as a screen saver…guilty again. Please note; I'm deleting the photo above from my hard drive. That's simply ugly.
It’s just a few more days now and then I get my trial Spinal Cord Stimulator and I’m eager! I’m already imagining the luxury of being able to dial out the pain whenever it strikes. And once it’s surgically implanted and the doctors dismiss me, I will be free to do…what? It’s been so long since I’ve done so many things I don’t know where to start. Driving will be a big thing for me. Long walks will be another. I should be able to paint again. Currently, I paint in spurts. No, not spurts of paint but spurts of energy. The drugs make me manic one minute and then I’m off for a nap or off to do something else. I can’t concentrate long enough to do more than five minutes at a time. On Tuesday mornings, when I paint with our group, I do pointillism. Not because I like it, but because it can be mechanical and I can appear to be normal to my friends. I’ve been working on the same piece for a month now and I really don’t care if I ever finish it. But, once I’m off the drugs, I may change my mind and find it to be fascinating once again.
This has been an amazing month for weather. It’s still snowing in the mountains to the east of here; where our son and grandchildren live. The Sacramento River has gone a full foot over flood stage locally and that means water is released into strategic areas to take the pressure off the river. Some rural roads are now flooded and will stay that way till the river level falls. As we cross the river at Hamilton City, we can see a house located about 50 feet away from the river and the river is now lapping at the lawn that slopes away from the house. Today we will probably see rain once again and it’s forecast to rain all of the way past the end of the month and into the next. This is a weather pattern that climate scientists have predicted. Exactly. We even had a tornado touch down about 20 miles from here. All part of global warming. The same global warming that our congresspersons deny as they pander to the right wingnuts. Oh, don’t get me started…     

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