Monday, December 10, 2007

Art vs Craft... Skilled labor at its best.

Silk Scarf - 44" x 44" One of a kind Hand-painted 100% imported fine Silk, hand hemmed. Painted with traditional French Silk Techniques.
As an artist I work hard to keep exploring the world around me. I expand the ways I use my mediums of choice (oil, oil pastels, acrylic and lately Silk painting.) Though I have no formal training I assimilate well. I study art - both in museums and in back rooms - not to find what sells or what is/was popular, but to find what the artist seemed to really be trying to say? I love to philosophically question, why this color palette, why that kind of brush stroke?
In my own simple work I am searching to create ( primarily) colorful landscapes of my soul. (That lost black hole.) I explore my relationship to the IDEAL of nature rather than trying to recreate with photo detailed realism my surroundings and memories. My work has been called emotional, "conveying an underlying optimism using subtle shading and layers of contrasting and complementary hues".( Trudi Van Dyke - Elan Magazine December 2007)
I have fallen into the trap occasionally of trying to paint what might sell so that I can live. Every time I end up deeper in despair because in order to paint I have to listing to my heart and not my mind.
Lately I have again been struggling with the Art/ Vs craft dilemma. My work is going in directions that seem to make it more feasible to sell it at art and craft fairs where "hand-made" means something. I just don't have the financial backing to stage one or two fine art shows a year in a gallery and not have my work out there the rest of the time for the public to see. The quality of my work is the same, the presentation is similar. It does seem that in many ways the only real separation of art and craft is determined by one thin question. "Is it usable or is it superfluous decoration?" If only very rich people can afford to hang in on the wall does that make it art? If it can be used in everyday life (a scarf, an holiday ornament, etc) does that instantly make it craft?
There are a number of museums and galleries that are now recognizing that the quality of work and the skill of creativity and design that goes into many pieces formally labeled Craft are no different at all than their "Fine Art" counterparts.
I guess all I can really do a the moment is to let others decide the matter and get back to work on my own art.
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!