The Way We See

Tires and Doors, Highway 58, Virginia, 2004

I recently read a blog by a fellow photographer that questioned the subject choices of some other photographers. Most importantly he decided to judge what was art and what wasn't. Without question, he is NOT the authority. To try and be clever he decided to go make a random photograph similar to whatever trend he has been witnessing and in the same stroke he deemed his image invalid. I will agree that his version of what he has been seeing is invalid, trite, and short sighted.

I don't think any of us, despite education and experience, are the end all jurors of art. There are obvious merits to knowing the history and the paterns of art in the world. There are credible arguments to be had for the art market and the trends found there. In the end of this there is no way to truly judge art on our personal experiences with one or two pieces of art.

All art, photography, painting, fabric, quilts, chainsaw sculpture, writing, acting, ALL OF IT, is an obsessive act based on criteria imbedded in each artist seperately. There are less artists with the same background and influence than there are replicated snowflakes. The beauty in loving art and living as an artist is the knowledge that all those obsessive habits, all those dreams, all those years trying to say something without words, come to a head when you go do what you do. If someone gives you money for it, then even better. That means there is someone out there who appreciates you, they may not understand it all, but they appreciate it.

An artist is someone who makes art everyday. Anyone who questions the validity of your work (at whatever level) is most likely undertalented or isn't self aware enough to see the beauty in the world without a label.


sugaruth said...

In the subjective, relative world of art, is it not the critical opinion of the vocal minority that makes or breaks an artist? Were it not for the opinions of art critics, would various movements in art history (i.e. Dada) have been ultimately dismissed as non-art, trash? Artists, in my opinion, should be left to their obsessions up to the point at which they seek to gain by sales of their art. It is at that moment that the opinion of critics and dealers becomes the meal ticket for some poor sot who can't quit painting if he tried. Even the most respected critics, curators, dealers are "questioning the validity of your work" and thusly may be undertalented or un-self aware, but ultimatley necessary for the art world to continue turning. The key, I suppose, is to know who has the most lucrative opinion, or where one stands in relation to the system of art works with regards to the opinions that elicit approval from the most participants in the art world. Very interesting, thank you.

Nicholas G. said...

I agree with what you're saying, but it is important to acknowledge and understand the presence of trends in the art world. My aesthetic "roots" -- conceptual photography and structuralist film -- are not in vogue right now but I know that what's in vogue (giant paintings, giant photographs) will eventually pass.