Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good questions are hard questions.

When people ask me what it is I paint a void open up in my mind. It's a difficult query. Generally I will not answer it seriously. Blame Dada's perversity. Blame Surrealism's psychic automatism. Blame non sequiturs.

Person: "What do you Paint Peter?"
Feathers: "I paint rats."
Person: "Rats?"
Feathers: "Rats."
Person: "What do you mean, rats?"
Feathers: "I don't know what your talking about."

The truth is: I do not often paint rats. I just don't like to answer that question. It feels trap-ish when it comes from the general public. The only time I attempt a legitimate response is when I detect artistic insight within the inquisitor, or sometimes when I'm in the forums of creativity, or sometimes libation. A question like that is never a easy one to answer. To make matters worse I feel like it can't be answered in the same way more than once. For me Art is an evolution; always changing and never rooted for long.

What is the context of the question?
How long do I have to explain myself?
What do I do now? or what did I do yesterday?
What do I do relative to those who came before me?
Can my work affect those who come after?
And how?
What makes what I do worth the breath?
How can I explain myself?
What is my context?
Should I answer or just default to rodent distraction method #1?
I overcomplicate the issue.

I have never met a talented artist that didn't spend great deals of determined energy in a effort to exclude themselves from the flock. Excelling in the realm of art requires phenomenal individualism. Excellent artist are almost like immortal telepaths who enter their minds into ours when we view a great canvas. From the moment they struck the first mark onto fabric they became acutely aware of many aspects. Of the creative physical: surface, color, medium, form, contrast, luminosity, size, gesture and so on. Then the creative psychological: relationship, intensity, emotion, intention, and again form. Like the conductor of orchestra a painter brings culminating force to mental substance and buttery paint.
Imagination is a wild force. It is a creature which lives inside all of us in various states of dormancy and rampage. My imagination is the collected knowledge, goals, dreams and nightmares of personal past projecting into the future. It is radically unstatic and unreasonable realistic. Imagination inside my mind it is a veritably quantitative verisimilitude. Full of paradox and analogy. So as a natural outgrowth, I try to render the equation visually when possible. In paint I make it real.

Behold! is a theoretical equation meant to represent the development of a painting single painting when coming from my perspective

Everything I know= A
Everything I feel= B
People I know= C
What I expect=D
Physical supplies=X

(A+B) = Content

Content + D + (D+E) = Imagination

/ Imagination \2
I ----------------- I + (XxY) + Z = 1 Painting.
\ relevance /

I am an artist, not a mathematician.

Perhaps it is easier to identify what it is I do not attempt. Rarely do I paint a classical still-life. I enjoy still-life paintings others have created. It is a worthy discipline with many talented disciples. They create heartfelt tributes to actuality and the simple delight of objects. For me they often conjure emotions like loneliness and self love. But that is just myself. I rarely paint a still life. That desire is satiated through photography, a entirely different creature.
Some times a landscape will emerge in my paintings. I think it is all ways moving in from the unconscious. A primal lurking sensation will be dwelling in the recesses of my mind until it forces it's way our through a horizon line or grass flocked shape. Nature is a staple in my work. Literally, abstractly, metaphorically. I feel like a conduit in its matrix. When I feel its' pulse I generate better work. But do I ever paint the scene from life? You will not see me standing in the field like Van Gough-like, paint brush in one hand, gun in the other. That isn't my way. I choose to adorn canvases with the elements of land, water and air but only those whose organization befits my perspective. Rarely would my constructs hold up to physical laws. Water doesn't flow uphill. So I stick to the brush. Once again I choose to reside in verisimilitude, the image of real. Fake world. So I don't paint landscapes. Real places don't allow mountains to balance on their caps.
Portraiture is mysterious. I've done it before. As a sophomore at the university I was awarded "First Place: Painting" which annoyed the seniors and those people who actually studied the art of the brush (At the time I didn't. I was taking a elective). It was called "Self Portrait from a Photograph of Me in a Corn Field". It now resides with my Mother. I made another smaller image of myself with a blue background and a brown "Newsy Cap" which my Stepfather excellently sold for $250.oo. It was 8"x10". For some reason the paintings I make of me sell pretty well but as with the previous couple archetypes; I don't paint them often. It feels unusual, almost masturbatory, to paint me. Selling paintings of self to others seems so ridiculous.
Maybe it has something to due with my admiration of the subjects. When I paint myself I feel my ego being brush-stroked. But I don't consider myself egotistical. So that discipline gets neglected due to irony.

What I make is abstractly referential. I don't adhere very well to any of the classifications developed during the trumping " Great War of the Isms". The canvases are thoughtfully imagined and wake-dreamed. I paint what I see. My eyes are 20/20 but they are just tools. Orbs that allow my Mind's Eye to see its course and proceed with figuration. To put it shortly: I paint the sum of myself, allegories of my individuality and desires, and not rats. And I use materials improperly.

But I tell people I paint rats anyway. Rat fables.


Blogger ez said...

Absolutely, You're an artist!

2:57 AM  

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