‘There’s an awful lot of guff talked about art’
as the famous British artist Grayson Perry said recently. These I feel are real barriers to comprehending art.,/h2>
Ever since I did my degree show, many years ago, I’ve been concerned about public access to art and all the rather ridiculous, highfalutin theories that the art media weave around artworks. I feel all this serves is to mislead people, creating barriers, making them feel they’re unable or unworthy of looking at, or comprehending art.
I personally feel that if someone appreciates a painting because they like the colour, that’s equally as important as someone who understands the story behind the piece, it’s political context, place in art history etc., etc.. Art is subjective and it doesn’t matter how much I tell you how good ‘Guernica’ by Picasso is, if you don’t like it, it’s sort of irrelevant. It has to work for you!
Anyway, I digress, the simple fact was my recent silkscreen print was made for a joint exhibition. Whilst in the print studio I’d heard various artists go to great length to describe the various, subtle layers of meaning in their works for the show. How their work revealed part of humanity that had never been seen, let alone discussed before! On hearing such wibble I decided I wanted to make an image that was the antithesis of this. I wanted to create an image that was simple and a visual pun. I wanted it to be completely surface and graphic, hiding nothing and more importantly not alluding to such. It had to work visually so if the pun wasn’t read, the viewer could simply enjoy the colours and/or composition. I also wanted the pun to have a British seaside postcard feel, something a bit naughty. A nudge, nudge, wink, wink effect, if you remember your Monty Python.
Even though it does use a ‘borrowed’ common graphic symbol, the print got a great reaction and has sold quite well. Most people liked the double meaning and really liked the fact that it really stood out amongst the other more cerebral works. It also started up a lot of conversations about comprehending art, which I suppose was half the point.
The print helped to redress the balance to all the bluster and provided a simple, graphic image to engage, titillate and amuse the general public as well as art lovers.
What are your thoughts on the language used surrounding art? Do you feel it’s exclusive? Do you think that the recent popularity of street art and Banksy in particular, is another reaction against this?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and any constructive criticism you may have, good or bad..
The handpulled silkscreen print is in an edition of nine prints and is for sale at £150 unframed + P&P.
Please get in touch if you’re interested in purchasing a print.