Passing Fancy

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“Fads are the kiss of death. When the fad goes away, you go with it.” Conway Twitty (from Brainyquote)

Who or what will be in the spotlight of art for 2014? What does it take to make it into the spotlight, the center stage? An idea, a painting, a poem, a sentence, a photograph that goes viral. There is no question that rocketing into superstardom overnight can make an artist a bunch of money, prestige, and more. Is that a place that can be planned for and what if it doesn’t happen?

The answer would necessarily depend on the artist. I confess to not knowing the exact percentage of those who make it to the viral stage but my guess is the number is rather small, probably closer to those who win the lottery. That is one of those wonderful things that is great if it happens but not something to take to the bank. Building a success that stands the test of time rather than the flash in the pan of being a current fad is a realistic goal. Sure it would be great and few would turn away the chance to be that fad but what about tomorrow?

Tiernan Morgan of Hyperallergic writes of the fading of the Banksy craze. Banksy was all the rage of the London art scene but is now becoming a thing of the past. Banksy became a huge success story and the darling of the art world for a time. As Morgan writes, “The art world, with its unforgiving addiction to novelty, always sneers at commercial success.” Banksy’s success has become his downfall. As he fades, the so-called art world will be looking for the next “novelty” to latch onto.

Before Banksy became the trend there was Damien Hirst and his dot paintings. The travails of Hirst have been much in the news lately. One wonders if Hirst’s troubles are due to the “novelty” having worn off for his dot paintings. Modern Edition speculates that perhaps Hirst’s downfall in popularity can be attributed to “overproduction.” An overproduction of dots may have led to the art worlds taste for the “novelty,” of Banksy’s stencils on the street. Now stencils are in overproduction.

Plantiebee asks the question, “Do you feel like you, yourself, are influenced or molded by the current trends in the art world?” Are artists creating art that is in the soul or creating for what the art world might want? Predicting how the two converge is an unknown. A commercial success is a great thing for any artist however fleeting it may be. The more fulfilling goal may be to gain the success that lasts. That success takes time, planning and following the heart not the trends. The long -term plan may also make a successful career and one that stands the test of time. Plan for the long term but grab the spotlight if it comes your way! A passing fancy is still a fancy.

Plantiebee has a great discussion of the subject of trends in art and what it means to artists at the link:

http://plantiebee.com/art-styles-fads-themes-and-feelings/

What Influence?

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Blessed is the influence of one true loving human soul on another.” George Elliot (from The Painter’s Keys)

A new book has recently been published reportedly naming the most influential art and artists of the last twenty years. The writer has singled out 100 artists to name as the top 100. If these are the most influential artists, then what does it say for us? What does it say for art? Judging from the list, it appears the art world still hangs onto the artists who can make the biggest political statement of some sort. It’s all about the statement.

Writing for Real Clear Arts in the Arts Journal blog, Judith Dobrzynski says of the book’s author, “It takes a lot of nerve, and the willingness to be wrong, incredibly wrong, to write the book that Kelly Grovier published in the U.S. this month (and in September in the U.K.).” The point is perhaps more to why he chose the art and artists he did and on what basis did he make his decisions? A number of the artists on the list are known more for their controversial statements than for their artistic skill.

Of course the list includes the much-heralded street artist, Banksy. Looking at Banksy’s many works on the walls, buildings and cars of New York City, one sees whimsical statements and cute figures. Lost in the moment are the owners of the properties that have been defaced and who must now pay to have the work removed. And what of he glorification of graffiti? Graffiti has damaged and defaced many beautiful, old and precious buildings. Is Banksy glorifying the destruction of other people’s property? Or is it okay to disrespect others in the name of art?

To many people, art is for beauty, for touching souls, for uplifting spirits. Making art that reaches into the heart and sparks a deep emotion is a wonderful thing. To stand in a room full of the all- encompassing powerful energy of beautiful works of art is a deeply moving experience. What does it say about us to be influenced more by a person who defaces the property of his fellow humans over the artist who strives to create a thing of beauty to share with others? Hopefully, Kelly Grovier is wrong in his choices.

Experimenting Experimenters

Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 9.07.17 AMLet us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings.”         Edward O. Wilson (from The Painters Keys)

Many artists are experimenters who constantly search for new ways to express themselves through their art.  They look for new techniques.  They try different media.  Some even come up with non-traditional materials not generally thought of as art making material.  Others look for new uses of traditional materials.  Still others seek out new and different subject matter.

The UK’s Daily Mail has an article focused on artist Gerald Toni and his use of coffee and tea to paint beautiful life-like works of people and objects set in coffee houses.  He uses various blends of coffee and tea from all over the world.  The amazing range of color values in his paintings come from years of experimenting with the different coffee and tea blends.

Watercolorist Carrie Lin, as told by Margaret DeRitter of Michigan Live has developed a unique method in her paintings using different papers such as yupo and rice paper.   For the rice paper work she uses a crinkle technique perfected with years of experimentation.  In the yupo paintings, she applies ink, allowing it to slide over the slick surface of the paper.  Lin then uses both techniques as the background for her beautiful abstract paintings.

If you are in the mood to try for something new and different, Amiria Robinson has outlined techniques, methods and materials to try out in a series of articles for Student Art Guide “Entitled Beyond the Brush.”  You might try painting with a mop or maybe your feet.  You could experiment by painting with a rag.  How about turning things around and dipping the paper or canvas into the paint instead of the other way around?  Robinson described a number of lively suggestions worth trying just for the fun of it.

In the process of experimenting, artists are forever evolving and changing the way people view their world.  This constant evolution brings color and expression to our lives.  I wonder what the next development in the art world will be.  Artists are always bringing new things to life.

The Case of the Forging Forger

Every good painter paints what he is.” Jackson Pollock

CBS Sunday Morning this past Sunday told the story of hugely successful art forger, Ken Perenyl. It appears that Perenyl has had an immensely lucrative career as a forger of the works of a number of mainly eighteenth and nineteenth century artists. He boastfully demonstrates his techniques for aging canvas and frames. Perenyl goes on to show the evidence of where Southby’s sold one of his forgeries for $650,000. Ken Perenyl has never come close to paying for the crime of forgery and deception even though the FBI did sniff around a bit at one time. Watching this left me feeling torn between admiration of his skill and disgust at his gleeful attitude toward his crimes.

Grossman LLP is a law firm that deals with issues in the art world. On the firm’s blog, Art-law-blog, is a recounting of the case of the owner of the New York art gallery of Salander-O’Reilly. Owner Salander was convicted of crimes of deception in the art world. He was driven into bankruptcy and is paying the price of his shady dealings. Yet Perenyl not only walks free, he brags about his crimes.

If we take Jackson Pollock’s quote as truth, what does that make Ken Perenyl? And why should we care? What effect if any, does this forger have on the majority of honest artists out there?

To watch Pollock creating his paintings go to The Museum of Modern Art and The Terrain Gallery

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