Why paint? or what an encounter/interaction with art can do for viewers.

There are a number of reasons why I chose to paint and after many decades continue to paint. I employ several discourses or socio-cultural practices to construct, transform and develop the life worlds my realities consist of.
They include theology, spirituality, philosophy, social science and so on.
I wish to concentrate on two of the many reasons why I paint (in the Western traditions) and intentionally chose
the genre of painting, rather than others such as installations, performance, new media etc. I have employed these
other genres, but concentrate on painting as the major practice when expressing myself in the discourse/s of Fine Art and Visual Arts.ax129 ax124 ax126 ax127 ax128
The most general reason being that I employ the genre of painting so as to construct reality or realities. All aspects of my being and existence are relevant to and expressed in my work. I mention this as my whole being, modes of conscious awareness, thinking, feeling, etc are expressed in my work. Therefore when someone views
one of my paintings they are presented with all of my humanity. The most important and aesthetically relevant aspect of my existence being expressed could be summed up as my ‘aesthetical vision’, or my leading aesthetic ideals. This to me is something very personal and intimate, something or rather values that are not up for sale, that have no price. This is one reason why I am not interested in selling my work, anymore. I did sell a number when I was a student, but without Certificates of Authenticity – therefore I can deny them as being part of my work. The reason why I mention ‘selling’ is because I question and do not agree with many things in the art market – things that transform painting into something with a price tag, measured almost exclusively by the
price paid for it. Frequently I see statements by artists who is intent on selling their work. It is almost as if they paint so as to manufacture something they can sell.
I have no interest in selling my work and object to that. This principle of mine places me outside the art market,
commercial galleries (businesses living OFF art, using art to make money) etc.
Another reason why I paint is to educate (or is it to civilize?) people, not merely in a narrow or limited manner as far as Fine Art and Visual Arts are concerned, but their entire construction of reality and self. I hope to make people more critical, open minded, questioning about their entire world, their whole life, their mind set and the way in which their conscious awareness functions, constructs and maintains ‘reality for them’. Hopefully my work will demand of viewers to question (endlessly) these things – not by trying to adapt my values, aesthetic ideals, attitudes, etc, but by the development of more meaningful constructions of reality and self and a more
‘philosophical’ (wisdom seeking and realizing) conscious awareness (less crooked, fallacies, ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving, etc).
Painting being visual will probably first deal with perception (and hopefully eventually involve all the senses,
emotions and ways of being human, or human existence). I wish to make people aware of the fact that their
ways of perception, thinking, feeling, etc (I label this consciousness or conscious awareness) are unnecessarily limited. With this realization the individual is able to reflect on his state and manner or ways of being aware, consciously aware. Then limitations he identifies can be explored and overcome. Then limitations, the viewer or art amateur (lover of)  have (for example concerning expectations concerning art, a work of art,  and norms such as what it must,must not and should be like,) can be  identified, explored and transformed by the individual.

quotes by Picasso on art, art school, women,, ,,,

Pablo Picasso. Photo: Flickr.

Today marks the 134th birthday of the artist synonymous with modern art: Pablo Picasso.

The artist was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, printmaker, designer and more; he often credited as an inventor of collage and as the founder of Cubism. He was so in demand that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard put him on a celebrity watch list.

His politics were militant and his views on women were questionable, but his lasting influence on Modern art is indisputable. His career began around 1900 in Parisian cafes, where he painted colorful versions of cabaret performers, flaneurs, beggars and drinkers.

Through his blue and red periods he continued to paint in a relatively traditional style, but soon he developed a revolutionary Cubist style in collaboration with artist George Braque. However, with one of the most recognizable aesthetics of any modern art museum, Picasso is almost a genre of his own.

To celebrate his birthday, here are eight quotes—some sweet, some extreme—from the prolific artist.

Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937).

On Painting:

“Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”

“Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us.”

“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence transform a yellow spot into a sun.”

picasso-sculpture-at-moma

On Copying:

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.”

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907). Photo: Wikipedia.

On Women:

“For me, there are two kinds of women — goddesses and doormats.”

Pablo Picasso, Bull's Head (1942)

On Art School:

“Academic training in beauty is a sham. We have been deceived… The beauties of the Parthenon, Venuses, Nymphs, Narcissuses are so many lies. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon.”

The Tortured Artist You suffer for your passion, longing for the day when your talent will be recognized. May we suggest faking your own death? Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist(1903) Photo: Wikipedia Commons

On his aesthetic choices:

“When I don’t have red, I use blue.”

Art Business Booster, our hand-selected set of art business resources.

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Art is dead. Making marks on paper isn’t

Art is dead. Making marks on paper isn’t

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What is Painting? by Julian Bell Thames and Hudson pounds 12.95The art world is not a happy place. If you’re out, you want in. If you’re in, you want out. Or you want to be somehow both in and out, or to set up your own new art world, or to blow the whole thing up, or to melt it down into the world at large. This has been true for some time. A profound dissatisfaction with the available art world is one of the distinctive features of modern art.

You could do a nice little history of this tendency, through Blake, Courbet, sundry secessions and independence movements, anti-art, outsider- art, and all art’s many attempts to disappear into ritual, political action or everyday life. You might note that the art world always seems to reclaim its rejectors in the end, and that perhaps no artist has ever wanted out quite badly enough. You might note also that, just lately, things have gone rather quiet on this front. But stay – for another voice is raised, and from an unusual quarter.

What is Painting? is a puzzling book because its main point only comes through in fits and starts. It’s an odd mix: a free-form and opinionated history of art, and ideas about art, during the last two centuries; philosophical excursions on the nature of painting; and – towards the end – flashes of unexpectedly cross polemic.

Bell scouts huge generalities, his arguments are never more than just adequate, subjects turn on a sixpence. You’ll find that in a page and a half he’s moved from the “sublime” in Rothko to why neuro-science disproves feminism. Some very bright ideas appear briefly, and some fine phrases are turned (Anselm Kiefer’s work is “a marriage of information and the informe”). But none of this dispels the impression that it’s all a bit cranky; or at any rate that the author is still sorting things out in his head. Putting scattered hints together, though, this is the sense I get.

Bell is a painter (fact). He’s pissed off at the way modern art has got so theorised – maybe because the theories seem to leave the sort of painting he himself does on the sidelines. But he knows that theory isn’t a new problem; Western painting has been ideas-led since the Renaissance. So he’s mugged up art-theory, to get his own line on it clear. And being in another part of his mind extremely into ideas, he tells a good story – partly borrowed, partly original, variably persuasive and digressive – about how ideas of representation, narrative, space, expression and imagination have mutated down the years, and how the idea of art itself has mutated, now into something that has little room for trad painting.

Partly, then, this is a How Painting Died thesis. But the whole point is, there’s a get-out clause. Bell proposes a distinction between two metaphorical locations, which he calls the Market Place and the Big Store. In the Market Place, painters go their own free way, offer their various wares, and customers come and have their fancy taken by this or that, or not. But in the Big Store painting sets itself up as an art, makes itself intellectually respectable, with theories and canons and projects; the Big Store is where all that interesting and unfortunate art-theory-history happened. I don’t quite see how these metaphors translate, but it’s clear what Bell’s trying to do: detach painting from institutional art, make it something with a possible life of its own.

As we near the present day, the struggle surfaces more explicitly and plangently. On the one hand there are “those tantalising, indeterminate markings called paintings”, with no specific goals and no definite meanings (though capable sometimes of an overwhelming meaningfulness). Meanwhile “the institutions of art … exist to fix and conserve meaning. They move in quickly … making sure that indeterminacy does not spread.” Note the echt underdog rhetoric: painting, sometimes a gentle, innocent thing threatened, sometimes a wild, dangerous thing tamed.

It’s the institutions, of course, who declare the death of painting. However, “the practice of making coloured marks on surfaces continues”. Indeed, painting should welcome its proclaimed death as “a liberating and challenging prospect”, the occasion to break away from art altogether, set up on its own. Painting doesn’t need art and its theories: “Who needs a theory of firework displays?”

Well, clearly Bell needs some sort of theory of painting as a non-art enterprise, and I can’t see he really secures one. What’s more, it turns out that by those “coloured marks on surfaces” awaiting de-institutional freedom, Bell actually means “painting in a skills tradition”, which itself sounds a fairly institutional and theorised thing. But the main question about the liberating prospect Bell offers – as with any goodbye-art-world proposal – is practical: what’s supposed to happen?

His foreseeings are vague. New painting may develop in local and provisional contexts. New terminology may emerge “from what we discover in paint”. Maybe he has in mind some sort of art colony. It’s a common enough artist’s dream, and sometimes comes briefly true – an alternative, small-scale institutionalism. (If one of the colony gets put up for the Turner Prize, are they chucked out?)

In fact I suspect that not much is supposed to happen. The “prospect” is really a way for the trad painter to feel more cheerful about how things are now. It takes an existing situation – never going to show in the prestige public galleries, but doing fine in the non-metaphorical market place – and calls it, not exclusion, but independence. I’m a painter, I’ve got my public, and my mates, I don’t care about “art”. So why the fuss and the book? Oh, of course he cares. Like all the great art-rejectors, it’s practically the only thing he cares about.aw100 aw98 aw92 aw91 aw89 aw88a aw88 aw65 aw67 aw75 aw79 aw80 aw81 aw82 aw64 aw61 aw60 aw35 aw34 aw29 aw28 aw13 aw21 aw22 aw22abc aw23 aw26abc aw27 aw7 aw102 aw10 aw11 aw12 ar8a ar8 ar9a

Full Stop 1961 John Latham 1921- 2006 Presented by Nicholas Logsdail and Lisson Gallery, London 2005 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T11968
Full Stop 1961 John Latham 1921- 2006 Presented by Nicholas Logsdail and Lisson Gallery, London 2005 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T11968