Wednesday 21st September 2016The Weird and Wonderful
Art imitates life, and life imitates art. Old sayings are often ridiculous, but that one certainly holds true, especially in an age of social media photography and vapid self-reflection. But there are few times when it's been more literally true than during a recent moment in Berlin.
A large statue of American pop star Rihanna was unveiled in June as a part of the ninth iteration of the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Built by Colombian sculptor Juan Sebastián Peláez and entitled Ewaipanoma (Rihanna), the statue is a much larger than life version of Rihanna, clad in nothing but a bikini. The only thing missing from the statue is her head, while a 'to scale' version of her face is plastered across her chest as the sculpture holds up sunglasses to hide her nonexistent head.
So what better way to reflect on the absolute insanity of that old saying than to see a picture of Rihanna visiting the sculpture of herself and striking the same pose?
One can't help but wonder if the accompanying photo (credit: Hayden Manders) is a work of art in and of itself. In the technical sense, it is, as in 'he has copyright to this piece of imagery', but what about from a formal aesthetics sense?
If we accept Richard Prince stealing other people's Instagram photos, enlarging them and claiming to have modified them enough to distinguish his own copyright (backed up by the American legal system), is a photograph of a sculpture a work of art in its own right? Especially one that actually (whether intentionally or not) makes a commentary about the nature of that work?
It seems like a far more valid premise than Prince's, to this writer at least. Perhaps there's an interesting photo series to be made there, with each photo starring one person and the sculpture that supposedly represents them.
Probably not a great way to make friends in the art world, as Prince has found out. However, the art world does also love a rebel, regardless of whether or not they actually like them. No matter which side you come down on, there's something weird and wonderful about this photo - and perhaps it wouldn't last as a series, since the spontaneity would be lost.
What do you think? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Posted on September 21st 2016 on 07:06pm
Wednesday 13th April 2016Life Imitates Art After All
It's one of the oldest cliches in the art world, a hoary old chestnut passed down from generation to generation: "Art imitates life, and life imitates art". While it's not exactly clear who originally uttered these pithy words, the most notable figure who has used them is probably Oscar Wilde, who said that "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life" in his essay The Decaying of Lying, published in 1889.
Regardless of where it came about, it was brought home in a hilariously postmodern way earlier this year by a hapless driver and a graffiti artist. For those of you over the age of 50 (or those of you who are younger but were raised by cartoon aficionados), you'll no doubt remember the Loony Toons trope that afflicted poor Wile E. Coyote, who frequently found himself chasing the clever and presumably delicious Roadrunner.
Unfortunately, Roadrunner proved to be a clever adversary and a skilled artist, who regularly painted fake tunnels on the sides of canyon walls during his attempts to escape being made into lunch. The unfortunate coyote found himself running spang into a rock wall and getting flattened, despite the fact that Roadrunner could occasionally make use of the self-same tunnels.
While it remains to be seen if the graffiti artist who painted a false tunnel beside the road was able to use his own tunnel to escape the scene, a poor driver managed to mistake the painted tunnel for a real one and crashed his car full tilt into the pseudo-tunnel painted on the wall.
To add insult to injury, it later transpired that there was in fact a large cartoon Roadrunner painted right beside the fake tunnel, but that apparently wasn't enough to top off the driver. The tunnel wasn't painted in a particularly photorealistic style, as one might guess from the fact that it was done in spraypaint, but it was enough to send this car to the shop.
There's no word on the driver, but hopefully they survived without any harm and learned a valuable lesson about the value of paying proper care and attention to the road while driving! Not to mention everything they learned about how life really can imitate art after all, as Wilde long ago surmised.
Posted on April 13th 2016 on 01:48am
Wednesday 04th December 2013The Art-Work-Life Balance
The holy grail for most artists is to be able to support themselves through their art alone. After all, we do this because we love it - why let work get in the way of art if you can get paid for doing what you love? Needless to say, this remains a dream for most of us - but it IS possible to turn your dream into reality. If you're serious about turning art into your primary career, here are some great tips that will help prepare you for this monumental change in your life and keep you on track once you start.
The first question to ask yourself, though, is whether or not this is something you really want to do. While it's a great system if you can make it work, you really have to be 200% committed to making it work. If you ever find yourself coming up with excuses to avoid the studio, it might be best to keep your artwork as a secondary job for the time being. It's important to be able to tell the difference between a hobby you enjoy and something that you're willing to dedicate your life to.
If that hasn't scared you off, great! Let's get down to brass tacks. Firstly, you're going to have to be working two jobs for a while. Unless you've got a bunch of money saved, and you're willing to live on that while you get things off the ground, you're going to have to start working on your art business while you work your normal day job. No sugar-coating: this will be stressful, but worth it.
Start getting used to living on less income than you're currently making. Not only will the savings help you through the transition period when money stretches thin, but giving up some of the luxuries you're used to at the moment will help motivate you to really work hard on your art business to get them back.
Get used to working on your art business in a serious way. Put in the hours, whether you feel like dragging your feet or not. You don't get to choose when you show up to your current day job, and your art business shouldn't be any different if you're going to be successful with it. By the same logic, treat your time with the respect it deserves. If you have a home studio, be sure that your family knows that you may as well be at the office and that you shouldn't be interrupted.
Finally, make sure that you're focused on making sales. All the well-intentioned work isn't worth anything if you're not making sales or commissions. Produce, produce, produce, and then produce some more.
All that being said, once you get past the rough initial stages, it will become fun again. A new job is always complex and can have some difficult times at the beginning, but you get the hang of it. Work hard, persevere, and you'll wake up one morning to find that you're doing the thing you love with your life - and getting paid well for it. Who could ask for more?
Posted on December 04th 2013 on 07:05pm