|Not the legacy I wish to leave|
I just learned that the next meeting of one of my local art guilds will feature a critique session conducted by a well known local artist, 'whose claim to fame' is being socially controversial. I had the misfortune of seeing this person critique artists at another guild earlier this year. It seems he made his reputation looking for controversial social topics for his paintings.
In his opinion, if the art work wasn't 'edgy', and shocking, it wasn't worth viewing.
I understand the reasoning from a marketing point of view. If my latest work is tagged on the internet with a controversial subject. label, I am certain to get more hits from people interested in that topic. Most of those viewer have little or no interest in my art, but the stat counters doesn't show that. It only reports the number of people who have clicked on my web page. The more clicks, the more popular and successful I appear to those who do not know better... but I do. If I am truly committed to a cause, then I am all for using my art as an instrument of change. However painting controversial subjects just to make a buck is not only boring . it is a waste of my talent and my viewers time..
Recently, I ran across a blog post from artist, Roger Bansemer ,who expressed my sentiments exactly. He said: "I have tired of looking at art that has been made convey social statements or to shock. There is altogether too much of it in the 24 hour a day news to entice me to spend much time looking at one more opinion. For myself, I need to look at something that takes me away from the upset and offer instead sense of permanency the world has existed in for so long without needing change. A mountain is as beautiful as it has always been. It doesn't need to update itself. I think we all need a rest from the shock. That's what I try and do with the paintings. I navigate to paintings without a message to offend, surprise, upset, or alarm. Paintings that give a respite from that is what I need." Roger Bansemer 7/09/06
Thank you, Roger, for providing a moment of sanity. More chaos thrust in our faces is not what what a shock weary world needs right now. A reminder of the importance of beauty and serenity is. You are truly a kindred spirit.