Tuesday, 25 November 2008


I have decided to stop describing myself as an ‘abstract artist’. I have come to the conclusion that the term doesn’t especially mean or illuminate anything and is a fairly meaningless label. One of my pet hates in life is being put in a box as my immediate and automatic reaction is to get out of it if anyone places me in one. I have also concluded therefore that by describing myself as an ‘abstract artist’ that I am also boxing myself in. We live in an abstract world on all sorts of levels so I feel I am simply reflecting the things that I observe and interest me in life if that makes sense.

When I meet someone new and I am asked what I do for a living, I usually say that I am a painter. The assumption then is that I paint people’s houses so then I have to explain that I paint on canvas and my work is of an abstract nature but I kind of resent having to say this. I feel it doesn’t really describe what I do. I don’t really enjoy trying to describe my work as I am not really sure what it is myself. Words just don’t seem to fit somehow. I think this is because creativity is a language in itself and it is pretty hopeless to try and translate it into words that are often ‘loaded’. Take the term ‘post modern’ for example – what does that really mean? Just as bad – ‘contemporary art’! These terms mean nothing to me in all reality.

I have also decided to avoid debates about what is art and what isn’t. I have been involved in some pretty heated debates about this in the past and I am finding the debate increasingly tedious. Who has the right to say what is art and what isn’t? I am willing to accept anything as a work of art if it is presented as such and that is the end of it as far as I am concerned. How it is was produced and what medium is used means nothing to me. It’s just another box I feel inclined to get out of.

Getting this off my chest helps me to feel free to do whatever I want so I needed to say it. Will it make a difference? To me, yes. At this moment I want to pursue anything that appeals to me in any way that appeals to me. Can you relate to this? Do you find labels a help or a hindrance?

The photo attached to this article was taken at Alicante Marina recently. It has been cropped to make it square but not manipulated in any way. What is it? I don’t know and it doesn’t seem to matter – it just is and I like it.


self taught artist said...

yes! I get it. I relate. People ask me what I do, when I say an artist they jump to 'painter'? no. mixed media i say. silence... they dont get it. Its exhausting. then if i try to talk about it I can tell unless they see a picture they have no idea.

i just finished some posts on craft vs art and finally got tired of it, realized who cares, its just art and trying to be elitist about it is pointless. art is art. you like it or you dont. who cares what category it is in. and i like what you say in the end about the image...who cares what it is, you like it and it just IS.

C. L. DeMedeiros said...

Thank you for you visite
I like you blog

I'll be snooping around
from now on.

the whole label think
really sucks

Todd Camplin said...

I agree, abstract is to broad to describe anything. I do however know that every group or vocation has its own terms. So I don't mind talking about my work in the broadest of terms to people. I find the people that most want to box artists in is our contemporaries or critics. I know I am guilty.

Chris said...

I can relate to what you're saying. In a world where all appears to be subjective, words ultimately fail to convey the true essence of anything. The nearest we can approach the true essence of anything is through symbols and art.

Taken in that regard, art to me is a means to express myself to the world at large. I leave the viewer to take or leave whatever they want out of my works.

If I were asked to describe what I do I'd likely respond with ... I'm a verb.

Megan Carroll said...

When people ask I usually say artist, then they ask what type and I say ceramics. They jump to the obvious conclusion that I make pots, or mugs, the functional stuff. I don't, my work is more sculptural and if it resembles something functional it is accidental. Because my schooling was in a ceramics department at a university, most of our curriculum was centered around the ART VS CRAFT debate. While in school it was fun to muse about the various arguments for or against one or the other but now I just want to work. I will let others categorize it if they feel they must. It is more important that I think my work is strong and independent.