May 20, 2009
I am a contemporary artist working in San Francisco. I began this blog for three reasons. Firstly I miss writing as a tool for focusing the mind. Writing not just to ruminate, but to pierce and bind together layers of ideas.
The second is that I love to make process visible. How an artist thinks about her work, how she approaches it day to day, and how the ideas flow is the ultimate exposition of process. Some things are for behind the scenes, of course- but then don’t we all love backstage tours? This then, is for peeks at the backstage. I won’t be showing you everything. There are periods within process where even voicing it has the potential to shatter.
Years ago I attended a talk by a prominent critic who he said that it was not the artist’s job to explain their art or put it into context. He asserted that they were not qualified and had best shut it before they hurt themselves. That was his job. This notion may well keep him in tea and sugar, but I feel it takes away from the artist. Not every artist is a great speaker or writer, and for some the art they produce is more emotional than intellectual. Still, even those artists should able to say as much.
A conceptual artist on the other hand must be able to discuss meaning and context outside of the artwork or she is engaged in a game of the Emperor’s New Clothes, where value is made up by those surrounding her and there is no actual substance. In conceptual work the concept is the actual substance. If that is missing all you really have is a stack of sugar cubes or similar.
The third reason I am writing here is that I miss seeing the artist. We all know something about the lives of certain past artists- Picasso certainly. He was a media personality. Is here anything like that now? Have artists suddenly become boring people? No. It seems as though even the most famous artists have become increasingly invisible to the public (who often remember Picasso but aren’t really sure who is working now). Perhaps today’s artists are hidden by layers of critics and curators. Or perhaps our niche in the media has been filled with the misdemeanors of child starlets and similar.
Can the art be separated from the artist? How can we talk about art without process, and how do we understand process without knowing about the lives of people who create?
So here I am stepping into the light. You will see some stream-of-consciousness posts about process, and some essays on art and the art world. Welcome.