14 December 2008

More thoughts

Finally we are in our own place and have been for just under a week now. I am looking forward to getting into a healthy routine with all things in my life like, drawing, family, bike riding friends, etc. Normal simple things you struggle to do when you are moving around and living out of a suitcase. Most importantly is the ability to draw regularly which is definitely more a need than a desire for me.

Lately I can not stop trying to figure out a certain kind of amateurish creative approach.
Something to do with having an authentic approach to Art. The only solid example I can think of is that of making a quilt.
Some quilts are made out of necessity from what is available. There is a certain effort to make it look nice but the function of it balances with the decorative element. In this case usually only old, worn, cheap or free materials can be used, but they still have to be half decent.
Compare this then with someone who sets out to make a quilt, and can afford any material they want and do not actually need the Quilt as a blanket but rather just for show. The latter just seems cold and hollow to me, albeit ‘nice’.

It just does not have the same character or authenticity to it. Perhaps this seems obvious but I think as an Artist you are striving for that kind of authenticity. Perhaps this is what Kochalka meant when he infamously said that ‘Craft is the enemy’ which is often taken the wrong way.

You has said: "Craft is the enemy", "Craft isn't a friend" and these statements have started a lot of discussion and polemic. Can say us what do you really want to say?

Well, I don't know exactly what I was thinking at the time I said "Craft is the enemy". Let's just start over from a new beginning. I think that artists who are great craftsmen, who have perfected their craft, are artists who have atrophied and have stopped growing. I would rather always be reeling off-kilter than be settled. Also, the process of attaining greatness is one of struggle against unbearable odds and surpassing your abilities. You don't attain greatness by learning a collection of graphic tricks and skills that you can pull out of your hat at opportune moments.

The problem is that most people want the nice fancy expensive quilt not the shabby home made one, but artistically speaking I would take the shabby option

Some unifying qualities of this mindset I can identify:

1-Done with the materials on hand
2-Not too much expensive materials are used for favour of effort
3-Made independently as much as possible
4-A perfect balance between function and design
5-A touch of an amateurish quality, which gives away the human hand involved

You can also see this in Zines, true 99 out of 100 are either ordinary or crap but it is that gem zine in the pile of rubbish ones that shines through with these qualities that makes it so charming.
I like a similar thing with comics too. The art has to have that down to earth feel to it, too polished and it just seems cold. How I can apply this to my own art I am not sure, perhaps it is already there. I sure hope so.

Any extra thoughts on this are appreciated in the comments no matter if it relates to art music life boating etc…

And also I did find ‘Freezer paper’ I read online that you can get it in Australia at Spotlight craft stores. They keep it under the counter as to measure it out for you. I paid $1.50 per metre. I thought it would be brown paper but was actually white. I will report back when I have some results.

Kochalka Interview link


Christopher Downes said...

Wow. Interesting way of looking at art. I come from Tennessee, and there is a long standing tradition of quilt-making in my family. This doesn't make me an expert by any means, but it's always been something prevalent in my life.

There are two quilts that hold extra major importance to me. One is a tattered old thing that my grandmother made for me when I was 13. I got to pick out one of the fabrics for part of it. And that part sticks out like the bad 80's design that it is. Everything else is delicate and beautiful. I guess that shows just how much she loved me - she was willing for her artwork to be ruined to please her grandson.

The other quilt was made by my great-great-grandmother. It's called a 'crazy quilt' because it doesn't follow a pattern. She went blind before she finished it. It's hanging on the wall above my parents couch back in Tennessee. It's stunningly beautiful and I never tire of looking at it. (I hope I inherit it.) Anyways, legend has it that there is one piece of the quilt that was cut from the lining of Andrew Jackson's carriage.

Why am I telling you all this? I think I'm realising that I see both of there quilts more of a marking of history -a document, than as a useful item. And that's how I see my art. I guess I consider myself first and foremost a storyteller. Craft, to me, is secondary.

awcomix said...

Thanks for your thoughts on quilts. I often see making comics like quilts as you patch the panels together to form the whole.
I like the sound of the crazy quilt and it probably fits in better to what I was talking about. I bet it has that whacky quality that makes it look made by a human hand and mind.