dinsdag 26 november 2013

Who likes my art?

This has been a question for some years now. I thought it would just be people of similar age and interests, but I was wrong. I have done a few fairs in the last 12 months and I tried to figure out what type my audience is. At least I know that my audience likes different things and doesn't mind my sculptures having a bit of a weird edge. I also know that people that smile or laugh while exploring my work, understand what I am trying to do and like my work.

So far so good, but this is where it stops with my knowledge of my audience. I can't tell by reading someone's age, I seem to have a massive range and can't rule out any age group. I also can't tell by what people wear. There are lots of people that like different and weird stuff, but don't dress like that. When I think about it, this applies to me as well!
What I often hear people saying is that they know someone that would really like my sculptures. Yes, I have noticed that my work ticks a lot of boxes for some people and they just spend quite some time staring at my stall. So my work isn't mainstream or appealing to everybody.

Last weekend I had a stall at a comic book festival in Leeds; Thought Bubble. I thought this crowd would love my Urban Scoundrels for their strong cartoon/comic elements. I even presented them with a speech bubble to explain their characters. Surprisingly, people were less enthusiastic than at other 'normal' fairs. Got it all wrong again.
I also did an experiment, like proper doctors are supposed to do, by analysing the response to my table from people with skull prints on their clothes or accessories. So I counted the amount of people that had a skull somewhere on their clothes and counted the proportion of people that would stop walking and take a look at my table. Even if it was for 5 seconds. Yes, I had about 5 real skulls on the table in plain sight. I counted about 12 and only 2 stopped at my table and they were a couple. The rest just ignored what I had and passed. They did briefly look, but kept walking. So, this trend of skulls in fashion has nothing to do with loving skulls….it is just fashion and no indicator that this person likes skulls.
So again peoples clothes don't tell much about them. Conclusion: don't judge a book by its cover!

woensdag 13 november 2013

Prohibition skull: 'What drives you?'

I recently finished another skull and this time back at decorating real skulls. I got a ewe skull, probably Swaledale breed, and wanted to create something around the theme of individuality and law.

I have often gone about the difficulty in being different, behaving different and thinking different among big groups of people. Generally, big groups want you to act in the same way as the rest of the group. Unless, you gain status. We have things to make sure people behave in a predictable and desirable way, one of those things is the law.
The law can prevent an individual of doing what it wants to do and can go against their individual development or even potential. In this case I used the style and them of the American prohibition era as a symbol for this individualism and law. Off course I could have chosen something different, but as my main goal is to create something cool and visual pleasing, I choose this era that has those cool gangster elements.

As it was around the Day of the Dead, I used a paint style, although not too obvious, Mexicans often use for celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead or Dias de los Muertos.
To make it all visual more cool, I reshaped the front of the skull a bit into the front of a car around that time and because in the 50's the started to use cars from that era to create Hot Rods, I decided to paint flames on it. OK, in this case one could argue I used the symbol of a Hot Rod to further emphasise the individualism, but no, this is a coincidence.
One of the cooler elements of that time is that gangster would often 'hang' on the side of the car with their Tommy guns ready for action, or to escape quickly. I wanted to create the same effect by letting this skeleton gangster hang out of the eye socket with his Tommy gun. The skeleton referring to the Day of the Dead.

So the title is: 'What drives you'? Mainly referring to the car and the individualism of the viewer and asking them the question, but also for them wondering what is holding them back.

So here it is: