1 October, 2006

I don't normally talk about art because it is such a weasely subject. People either have a strong opinion or no opinion, and there is nothing I can say that hasn't been said elsewhere. Doesn't leave much point for saying anything. Kind of feel like a doofus for stating the obvious and all of that. It is just I always hear one opinion more than the other. So, I guess I'll restate one of the others.

It is just that I always seem to hear about the need for art to be controversial or shocking or inflammatory, and that is just a big stinking pile of bullshit.

Pissing people off doesn't automatically make something art. Nor does it make somebody an artist. If somebody bases what they call art on how many people become angry, then that just means they crave attention and don't really care about the kind of attention they get. Little kids do this. Crave attention. Do anything to get attention. Kid getting yelled at? Scolded? Well, it does mean that the kid is the center of attention, doesn't it? Everybody is paying attention to the kid.

Okay, I know. Not all little kids do this but there is a certain group among the child community who indulge in this brand of attention seeking.

Artists, or at least some people who claim they are artists, do this. Seek attention at any price.

I am of the opinion that art should be what you feel compelled to do. With compelled being maybe too strong a word for it. Art is what you feel like doing. The reaction should be unimportant. It is an unfortunate consequence of having created something. Oh, well, that is if you even bother to try to get other people to notice it. Nothing says you have to share your art. If that is what you care about, other people noticing, then you are pretty much right back around to the person who only cares about annoying other people.

Sure, if people are affected by what you have done, then that is pretty cool. The thing to remember is that people can be affected in more than one way. It just so happens that it is easy to see when somebody is angry or shocked or scared or sobbing or what have you. So, saying that art must evoke a strong emotion is stupid. It leaves out the whole realm of subtlety and nuance and various shades of rage.

Each and every individual person who is exposed to what you have created is going to react in a different way because each and every person in the world is different. I am really rather of the opinion that if everybody reacted in more or less exactly the same way then something has gone horribly wrong.

Don't listen to people who say you just don't understand if you're not actually impressed or care about whatever work is currently in front of your nose. Don't listen to people who go about being shocking and calling it art just because it is shocking.

Anyway, I've prattled on long enough. Nothing I've said here should be news to anybody. It just doesn't seem to be said as often as other stuff. I guess it just sounds more impressive to talk about how it isn't art unless it makes you want to throw-up. Meaning have a strong visceral reaction. That is just stupid.

Subtlety. Nuance. Grace. Artistry. These aren't just fancy words. They actually mean something.

copyright © 2006 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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