Showing posts with label inner world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inner world. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

extraneous work (4): writing about art, art contemplation, teaching art

my other dutch blog is called beeld en wereld (image and world; `beeldenwereld' means `world of images'). it started out as a blog containing notes for the art contemplation course `beeld en wereld' that i taught to art students at the unitacademy nijmegen. now i also use it infrequently as a personal blog for typically dutch art affairs. the course notes `beeld en wereld' cover a very broad range of subjects, and i am planning to translate some of these subjects to put up on this blog. one central theme is the dynamic relation between inner world <--> outer world, which i believe to be especially relevant for artists. the course notes also contain some art history, art philosophy, and guide questions for artists.

schema 1 beeld en wereld
scheme of inner world <--> outer world, interfaced through language, image, story with several feedback loops.

i do not think that many contemporary artists write as much about art as i do, although like i said earlier there are quite a few artists who write or have written more. my art blogs attract a fair number of visitors (over 400,000 visits in the past 6,5 years, not much in web terms but not a dry stream either). but the amount of feedback given is very little. it often feels like i write in some sort of empty place, with an occassional casual visitor. therefore it is quite uplifting to see that my students and some visiting artists are really interested in the course topics and the illustrations that i prepare for `beeld en wereld'.

also, the course has really helped me to gain insight in the myriad constellations that occur when considering the interaction between myself as an artist and the outer world. what role suits me, what roles are possible, viable, sustainable, what roles are in vogue; what reactions can be expected from various sources; different looks at market forces, what are the roles of art in our and other societies, current and past..etc. etc.

to me art contemplation encompasses everything from art itself to art history, art sociology, art psychology, artist's psychology, artist's development (technical, themewise, (non)pictorial, society-related, businesswise...) and what you can come up with.

i have found that such art contemplation is often sorely lacking in curricula or art discussions, whereas especially to the artist her/himself it can be very uplifting and helpful to understand the complex mechanisms that surround the various worlds of art. from the inner world of the artist to the outer world of society in general.

it is also very uplifting to me to see that other artists have worked on these issues as well:

diego vélazquez, las meninas
las meninas by diego vélazquez

in interpretation las meninas has more layers than an onion...many of those touching on inner world <--> outer world. please follow the above link to wikipedia and read about this painting, if you are unfamiliar with it. interestingly it also touches on the relation between vélazquez and his commissioner king philip iv of spain. this relation must have been excellent, just looking at the artistic freedom vélazquez was given for this portrait.

this most famous painting has inspired many other artists, writers, philosophers through the ages. such as picasso who in 1957 painted 58 different versions:

pablo picasso, las meninas 1957
las meninas by pablo picasso

joel-peter witkin, las meninas
las meninas by joel-peter witkin

Thursday, October 10, 2013

frida kahlo & recognition as an artist

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird
frida kahlo, self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird

a few days ago, i spoke a good friend. and she said she admired my persistence in my artistic endeavour. because, she said, she would find it very hard to keep up the necessary motivation in similar circumstances.

to summarize: her perception is that i'm not getting so much recognition as an artist. and for her personally, the lack of such recognition would be a good reason to chuck it all in.

a double-edged compliment if ever i saw one :-) ! lucky for me, i have a different perception of recognition. as i wrote many times before, i'm not so impressed with the 'upper echelons' of contemporary art. that world is so much driven by fashion, money, competition, name dropping, and `entartainment', that real artistic merit often becomes irrelevant.

recognition for me comes in the many many people who have expressed to me personally that they were touched by one or more of my works. and also in the numerous fellow artists who have expressed their wonder at my themes and techniques. but it also comes from what my friend called aptly my inner compass. for me, i'm very content to be at a stage where things have been coming together for many years. for the first decade of my artist life, i was often frustrated by my lack of sufficient capability to create what i wanted to create. especially when painting, since drawing and sculpting mostly came reasonably naturally.

now, instead of frustration i'm often amazed at what comes out of the creative process. of course, on a different level i still lack all sorts of capabilities. but the difference is that this lack does not hinder me in creating works that evocate what i want them to. and that often amazes me, especially since a large part of this is beyond my conscious control. anyway, the gist is: i have enough inner compass to see that what i am doing has more quality than i could have hoped for twenty years ago...and that alone is enough recognition for me.

what in heavens' name does this have to do with frida kahlo, you wonder. well, you may not be aware that she garnered relatively little recognition during her lifetime. she was often seen primarily as the wife of the then-acclaimed artist diego rivera.

also this week, i borrowed a book from the library on 20th century latin-american art, wishing to expand my horizons a bit. only to find that frida's works were the only ones to really impress me. especially (but not only) her self-portraits are simply astonishing. [i restrict myself to showing only the above painting from wikipedia, since they are all copyrighted, and hope that its use is covered by the same fair-use policy as wikipedia's].

so, to sum it up for this post: recognition during one's lifetime is a happy circumstance for an artist. but let us be thankful that many artists have other considerations to create art as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

digital self portrait 3 (& more photoshop)

digital self portrait, own work
welcome to my world (digital self-portrait 2011, click on the image for an enlargement)

having a severe cold has the benefit (? i hope...) of forcing me to keep posting on this blog...the above self-portrait appeals to me for various reasons, one of them being that i really enjoy what photoshop has to offer in terms of enhancement of an original image. i know there are purists who think that this type of photoshop enhancement is over the top, but to me it opens up the possibility to add new dimensions to a picture, like in painting.

in this self-portrait, i feel that something of the relation `inner world - outer world' is visible. this relation is the first basis of what i teach my students at the unit art academy in nijmegen. perhaps interesting to post some of the lessons' material here too. you can also look on the lessons' blog beeld en wereld (image and world) which i maintain, but it is in dutch. however, google translate has become quite awfully good...

let me add some more photoshopped stuff while i'm busy, then i can finish this thread sooner.

cows, own work
cows (digital, 2007-08, click on the image for a small enlargement)

and more subtly photoshopped, and also more philosophical, and therefore more my favourite:

cows, own work
water trough (digital, 2007-08, click on the image for an enlargement)