Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The public and the process

Recently a friend of mine and fellow artist told me that there is no need for new invention in art as it is all about the enjoyment of the process therefore the product itself is unimportant.

When I work on a commission or for a client the work (ie end result) suffers if there is too much interaction during the process. I have come to the belief that the process is my practice, my spiritual discipline if you like. I used to frequently show the client how the work was progressing. I now incubate much more privately and the process is undertaken in womb-like sanctuary and with the sanctity of divine union and the highest intention for the client as well as development and practice of skills. In this atmosphere the client is present by invitation and upon invitation it is a very intimate dance.
The product is theirs.

Then there are the works which are cathartic. I sometimes burn these. Overall I find that if I treat the process and the product separately it is a freedom. There are two things of separate value and all the better for me as an artist if the one produces income from the other.

And then there is my sketch book which is entirely private practice although there is always the focus - how do I express this joy, that feeling this revelation that colour etc.

Process and product are two distinct and separately valid things. If I am working on a personal level the product needs to express specific qualities to the client, however buying a piece of art is usually also viewed as an investment so there needs to be universal and marketable appeal.
It is for this reason when creating portraits other than commissioned works I like to choose sitters who work with wide audiences or who have universal/archetypal qualities. The expression of the work also needs to convey valid information to the collective consciousness

All arts are a form of expression and the product (if exposed) belongs to the collective consciousness, to the public even if simultaneously to a private individual.
Therefore it's validity is to some extent dependent on its ability to add to the overall conversations concerning humanity. Therefore to say what someone else has already said is of little value unless it expresses in a way that can be understood by more or other people. This can happen on family, community, local or global or other levels. Saying something new does not have to happen with a new media or new media application its just that that can get attention and therefore reach a wider audience or be more effective or sometimes more contemporary. It can speak in ways that the current or incoming society resonate with more deeply.

It is the difference between a hobby and a vocation. The validity of the product makes the difference.