The artist as the medium
An artist understands very well that what they do is considered a luxury by many...weighed as self indulgent by logical business practices with bottom line concerns. When country-wide financial priorities shifted some years back, art would become the last thing on the mind of the public or private sectors and the artists' hard work took a back seat to keeping a roof overhead or finding medical care.
Now that apathy has clearly taken hold and infected the universal tribe, it's also becoming abundantly clear that the precipice is near and the artists have now renewed the drive to save the hearts and minds of the general populace from itself.
Are artists driven by an unspoken, interconnected language, and is there a worthy message within it?
Artists are communicators, reaping profound messages from a simple brush stroke or a created image, whether they do it consciously or unconsciously they are increasingly being guided to speak up about the challenging times we live in…especially the blatant wrongs. There is an increasing backlash against the dastardly foe that censor us or the gallery 'professionals' that maintain that we need to jam ourselves into a fictitious man-made marketplace to survive.
I connected with the very politically outspoken sculpture artist
Rick Burns to get his council on these nagging thoughts and he had this to say...
"Our jobs as artists is ancient, it's rooted in instinct, connected to a universal energy that commands us to convey a message of importance to the commonality. Here we are in a living a world, we are driven by unspoken forces to say something important, but the establishment has made us believe that we are having to create something for the marketplace, when thats not the truth. If we are driven by this force and our senses guide us….we open ourselves up to a universal energy to flow through us. It's like the invention of electricity, there's this force that can be harnessed that can light up the whole world."
Artists are empathic creatures and often have a very activist point of view that is relevant, irreverent, mostly significant and rides along side our warm guilt because we LOVE what we do…
but the message is always very soluble.
Last year one of my favorite Facebook status updates was from the late artist Nathan Nicholls...
Equally amusing and on point was this status update from photographer David Mendelsohn
We as artists, have taken our fair share of lumps from the mistakes of our financial and political authorities, and reaped heaping helpings of grief from the garden of leadership swine...but now, the tide is turning and they are increasingly coming to us for our ideas,
our insight…our answers, our humor and…our soul.
Start charging accordingly.
An additional circle-symbol, a stylish motorcycle brake rotor, is set in the center and pays quiet tribute to the ready-made art of industry… industry that is increasingly fleeing the borders if the United States and leaving poverty and destitution in its wake.
In the wake of many artistic losses in Maine and across the globe, one of the most important elements for an artist to remember is that
it is the artist herself
that is the most important commodity,
not the art.
The painting, the sculpture, the photograph …
mere byproducts that the wealthy get to pick through after we are done exploiting it
to save our own souls.
Erin Duquette is an artist, designer and writer living the outspoken family life in Southern Maine.
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul