Art is trash. No, seriously. Art is just refuse blowing in the wind. Painting, sculpture, music: trash. I think the world could do without a lot of it, and in some cases, it might be better off.
I don’t know how old I was the first time I went to a museum, but my first memories of it are when I was around 12. There was a simultaneous awe and ennui walking room to room. I remember standing and staring at a giant Mark Rothko painting and saying to myself “what the fuck is this nonsense” or something to that affect. Nearly 30 years later I feel the same exact way.
Not about Rothko in particular, but about these vague concepts of what makes art, and who that decision is left to. Is training in school or under a mentor necessary? Am I an artist if I follow the rules? Am I an artist if I break the rules? Should my work be realistic? Or can it be cave drawings?
What is it that makes the scribbles of Basquiat worth millions of dollars and those of a child worthless?
I have no desire to appease the gatekeepers. Sure, it would be nice to sell some paintings, but I’m not playing games and jumping through hoops. I don’t want validation that my art is good, because I know it’s just garbage, just like everyone else’s. I’m not treading new ground. I’m not evoking new emotion.
That’s the thing, nobody is doing anything new. We trick ourselves into feeling like more than a sack of meat by saying we’re artists. It gives us a feeling of importance. Like what we do really means something. But god damn, if I never see another woman’s portrait painted alla prima by some tattooer who just learned what alla prima means, it’ll be too fucking soon.
Everything’s been done. There’s no such thing as innovation, and if there is, it’s most likely done from a desire to fill white space as opposed to doing it for the sake of creation. Your work is derivative, just like mine is. That is if it’s not outright copying someone. I mean, that’s what tattooing is, and that’s why I’ve grown so bored with it. It’s all just a lot of fluffing and dick stroking while everyone rips each other off.
On the one hand, I hate the elitism of fine art, and how it shuns so much talent because they won’t abide by bullshit ass kissing and petty games, while simultaneously showering money and accolades on artists whose work is laughable. For fuck’s sake, a dude taped a banana to a wall and sold it for $120,000. Twice.
On the other hand, I hate how everyone just thinks they’re an artist but they really don’t bring anything to the table as far as originality or creativity, and that they should work harder to be taken seriously. There’s a myriad of artists displaying fine technical skill yet regurgitating the same staples of imagery mashed together in slightly different ways. Or just as common are those with little technical skill putting out mediocre work but attaching meaning to it. Either group tends to carry self importance about their art and what it’s place should be.
This is where I split the difference and say all art is trash. None of it really means a god damn thing, and attributing some level of stature or importance to oneself based on art is a fallacy. Art is only as good or valuable as the observer dictates. With the array of possible observers, this means all art is both priceless and worthless, genius and mundane.
This is why I’m a fan of Banksy. Whether he sells a painting for millions then automatically runs it through a shredder, or establishes a street vendor pop up anonymously selling originals for $60, he places no value on his work. Through his anonymity, he places no importance on himself. And then through the crazy duality of existence, his work becomes priceless and his character infamous.
Or maybe he’s a pompous, self righteous prick who thinks he’s the second coming of Christ to the art world. I don’t know.
So am I an artist? Do my values warrant some form of recognition or assign value to my work? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t know if I’m the one to answer it. I also don’t think anyone else should be answering it either. In the end, I’m just a guy who makes shit and hopes people like it enough to buy it.