vrijdag 27 maart 2015

My self portrait

Some of you know I am building a very complicated sculpture out of a sheep skull. I have tried it before, about 3 years ago, but failed and has been bugging me ever since. The concept of a toy like robot transforming out of a former living thing and transforming back into it excites me, but there is more to it!

Yes, somehow it has a lot of me in it, like me saying ‘fuck you’ to all pretentious art critics who would very quickly pigeonhole my work as not being art. But quite a lot of art became only accepted in retrospect, making artists die poor. Art has always been about doing something new and often that meant shocking. Would it be an interesting turn if the ‘new’ of today were only shocking to be not shocking, but actually a very gentle, perhaps childish revolution? This has partly been done by the CoBrA movement, but in a different way. I would want to mock the art world in the same way as CoBrA did, but also want to celebrate elements of our childhood that we seem to love more and more. People like me might often be seen as not having grown up when I celebrate the things I liked when I was 12, but I find that a misinterpretation of growing up. I think becoming an adult only means realizing and acting in line with your responsibilities. For me it doesn’t mean to become a boring serious grown up and I believe more and more people think the same way. My work would go further than just mocking pretentious artists and art lovers, I also want to mirror the growing number of adults who still embrace childhood joys. 
Coming back to the art world, there seems to be too many people that act as a boring and more elitist version of themselves by using over complicated language and seeing too many serious messages in art that were never intended.

So there I am being pretentious and announcing being this new thing, uh uh uh. Probably not, because you are only ‘the new thing’ if you are discovered and for that you need friends in high places, which I don’t have. There will probably be someone that has those friends who does something similar. Anyway, so why is this a mocking self-portrait? In realistic turns it are a few elements that really define me:

- The skull: I have always loved skulls and still do, but I also love nature in every form, life and death, probably because I grew up in an agricultural environment where you would start of life and the end of it, whether it would be in plants, animals or insects.

- The Transformer connection, part 1: I loved this cartoon and its toys when I was young. Mainly because of the hidden power of something ordinary transforming in something powerful. Isn’t everybody looking for his or her own ordinary self to transform in something powerful? Anyway, I never grew out of it. It could have been something else, the love for caterpillars, but I like the orderly, efficient and predictable ways of robots. That tells something about me as well; a part of me that wants to be efficient and orderly.

- The Transformer connection part 2: Besides my love for cartoons and the transformation of something ordinary into something powerful, I also mirror the image of a Transformer by looking at the path I took in life: the many different jobs I have had and which required me to learn and gain knowledge and skills. I am not saying here that I became powerful, but it is a transformation every time that felt as an achievement.

- Never been done: I often don’t like to do things that have been done before or do things the way everybody else does. It seems normal as an artist to be like that, but you would be surprised how conservative the art world is. How much it is about your art CV, your credentials, your friends in high places and making something that is marketable. Yes, even a lot of the so ‘shocking and innovative’ art is based on those elements and to me to be shocking in sex and death for example is just following the predictable line to be shocking and gain media attention, as in becoming known and then sell out, but all those artists are generally already known in a elite circle. …..and here I am making something less predictable, and in essence more shocking than the art elite does; avoiding the obvious shocking subjects. Shocking! Yes, because it would bore me to death to make art around death and I wouldn’t get excited making art about sex, or drugs for that matter. Therefor, I end up with something that hasn’t been done before. Besides, if there is one animal that would reflect the opposite of going a different way, it is a sheep and this sheep skull will get a massive transformation!

- The challenge: I like a challenge. I have started making sculptures without any education, courses or whatever. I am completely self-taught. I deliberately avoided seeing any art for the first 18 months to develop my own style and subjects and till this day I can proudly say I truly make original art. Perhaps not to everybody’s taste, but it is me, my style and I love what I make. This all sounds lovely, but it is by far from easy and so far the biggest challenge in my life. Not to get the skills to make my sculptures, but to get my work shown and was unpleasantly surprised by the closed minds in the art world. Yet, I have loved the response of the general public during fairs who have always topped me up with energy to push on.
So this sculpture also reflects the challenge to become an artist and to make something I like without any ideas whether someone would buy it. That has always been my base attitude. It might not be clear when this sculpture is finished, because it will look great and lot of people would probably love it, but I already spend 100 hours on getting the hinges in…so it would be very pricey and without rich celebrities knowing me, no one would have the money to buy it.

Who would have thought this would be behind this sculpture? More Than Meets The Eye!

…or maybe I just made it up to be more high brow…