vrijdag 26 april 2013

A typical Freakinstyle holiday

So I have been away on a holiday avoiding all the regular things I do; no Sculpting, cleaning bones, cycling, rock climbing, watching films, Facebook, phone, Twitter, Email etc. Sadly, I had to skip running too because of a back injury. One big part of my daily routine is missing: finding stuff to use in sculptures or finding stuff in general.

Somehow how my mind is always set to find things that are out of place and therefor finding cool things. I have always done that and as a child I didn’t really know what to do with it. Now that I do I can actually use them so they become more than just a things that take up space. I do have a rule to prevent hoarding: If I haven’t got a great idea for it within 6 months it goes in the bin. That way I keep a clear view of what I have and learn which things work better for me in a creative way.

So what did I find?

Lots of shells as you can see, just like any other tourist spending time on the beach, but nice to know that locals were a bit surprised about the amount of good ones I found. This is 1/3 of the shells I found. Now that I have the feeling broken shells would work better for my sculptures, they probably end up as decoration in the bathroom, because I don't like to broke things that are nice.
I also found a toy soldier, old oil lamp, lots of tiles, a skull of a small bird and a vertebra that I can’t place.

The oil lamp I'll probably use as a oil lamp or to put a candle in, the tiles I broke in small pieces to create a mosaic at some point. The skull and vertebra I'll probably use in the more normal freakinstyle way.

BUT the best thing I found was just 100m away from where people are enjoying their beach holiday…

.....a Dolphin! I think it is an adult Common Dolphin.
When I was wondering around, I spotted the vertebrae sticking out of the sand and from 15m I saw it was a section of vertebrae from a Dolphin. I have found one before in the UK, nu skull unfortunately. 
Off course I immediately started digging! I soon found the tail and discovered it was completely entangled in a piece of a fishnet. This happens a lot; Dolphins getting caught up in fishnets and the fishermen cut them out of the net and throw them overboard as pointless collateral damage.

Till that point I didn’t expect to find any more than the spine, but when I found the first neck bone I knew I had to dig more around and hit the jackpot! Well, for me at least. I found the skull, but without under jaw or teeth. The teeth are very small and imagine they drop out easily. There was still flesh on the skull and reburied it in a safer location.

Discovering something like this would be exciting even before I was a sculptor! I still don’t know what to do with it, but it makes a nice holiday story!

maandag 8 april 2013

Looking at art

I sometimes get the impression that people feel as if they need to be acting intelligent around art. Acting as if they understand what a work is about and saying they like it because it is a ‘big name’. I never like to feel that I need to act or behave a certain way to be accepted. If I do, I probably do the opposite.
To do my little share in braking down this culture, I’ll explain how I look at art. I was just like anybody else, still am, when it comes to my art knowledge.

When I walk into a gallery, I don’t care about anybody’s opinion and I generally read less than 50% of the art statements of the works I see. I walk around and browse from a distance to see if I like something. I don’t walk past every artwork with great intensity to pay my respect to the vast amount of work the artist has put in. When I see something interesting, I take a better look and might read the statement.

A lot of artists think they need to have art statements that are complicated, because it might make them look intelligent and therefor the viewer might think the work is very intelligent. It is actually a lot more difficult to summarize a work in a short understandable bit of text.

More important; you have only a limited amount of focus during a day, so intensely looking at art will only last for about 2 hours, probably less. So exhibitions are for me a sort of market place of images; I pick and choose.

There is no harm in viewing my art in the same way. If I tried to express a message and nobody gets it, it means I made a mistake. But it might be that this mistake is totally irrelevant because you just like what you see. This might be something unintentional. Abstract art often works like that; it let’s the viewer discover something in it. I don’t know whether I’ll make abstract art in the future, all I know is that it doesn’t feel like the natural thing to do right now.

zaterdag 6 april 2013

The art world – part deux

Yeah, getting fed up with the art world or actually with all the conventions, following and people making it generally difficult to be different. I have mentioned this before in different forms: People limit freedom.

People around you influence, decide, create and eliminate opportunities for you. If you don’t follow the program, you will cost you more energy to get somewhere, because to get somewhere you need people and they don’t understand you or your journey because you or your journey is different. So doing things different makes you loose on all kind of benefits and help from others. Life.

The art world isn’t different. It works in the same way as everything else. It is full of creative thinkers, people that do different stuff, but they are all pushed in the same mould of how to be a professional artist. So I am not a university graduate and I am a self-taught artist. I am 30+ years old, I don’t make paintings and I don’t make conceptual artworks.

-So I won’t be labeled as something up and coming ‘just from university’ and won’t be accepted to workshops to get those people going.

- I am older than 30 years, so not considered young anymore and won’t be eligible for lots of stimulating money. Age does influence and it is weird, because if there is one profession where people get better when they are old, it is being an artist. It is even easier to do when you have well passed retirement age than almost any other profession.

- I make sculptures; so all the venues with wall-based facilities are very difficult and only useful for my skulls, which sometimes scare people.

- I also don’t make installations or conceptual stuff, so if I finally have found a venue where 3D artwork is accepted, they want these half finished sculptures with elaborated art statements that 20% of the viewers think they understand while actually 0.03% of the viewers get it.

Yes, another rant on all the things that limits me in my progress! It is one of those reasons why I have this blog, to get these things of my chest and create positive things completely against all odds. People determine the odds. Because of that, I hate people and need them at the same time.

But sometimes you find people and organizations that don’t really care about these things; they just want to support someone who can make good art. One of those is the Brewery art Centre in Kendal. They want to stimulate people like me to develop further in my work as an artist.

So of to find more people that can help on my journey and forget about the narrow minded in this industry. 

woensdag 3 april 2013

Kurt Schwitters

A few months ago, someone mentioned the artist Kurt Schwitters and how his work is related to my work. Kurt Schwitters was a German artist that fled Germany because of the Nazi government and came to Britain in 1940. He lived in The Lake District, very close to where I first came to live when I moved to Britain from The Netherlands. But I went voluntarily during the credit crunch....

Tate has an exhibition on about his work in Britain. He used found objects to create his sculptures and made collages. These days it isn't very innovative to use rubbish and found objects in art, there are loads of artists doing that and for that he was ahead of his time! I use found objects, but I didn't start using them to make a statement, more as a convenient cheap material. Soon I saw the benefit visually in the contrast it created and kept using found objects ever since. I now even use found objects to tell something about my sculpture. Again proof that I as an artist started of with something coincidental and saw the benefit and explored the effect more.

The person who mentioned Kurt Schwitters mentioned him mainly because he also used bones in some of his sculptures. The most cited one is 'Dancer', which is shown in this blog. So we both started using sheep bones in our work after arriving in the UK.

With these elements the comparison probably stops. His work is a lot lore abstract than mine, but I do wonder what he would think of my work if he was still around. One thing I do know is that I can't just use found objects because it has been done before, almost a century ago!

Perhaps the use of popular culture, bones, comical characters and plastic is innovative?