Let me put on my wanker hat and talk about art for a sec.

bottle (2)

Discovery Collage (2013-2017) ink, watercolour and acrylic on paper and canvas.

Many people search for the meaning in art: symbolism, representation, the way each brushstroke was brushed has some imperative significance vital to understanding the work fully. It’s true; often there’s plenty to unpack. What the artist intended, their concepts, the key events which shaped them and therefore shaped their practice…
Studying art in high school, they told me a lot about viewing artworks with more depth. It’s so you can identify it for more than face value, gain a better understanding of what the artist possibly meant. I got told less about where to stop doing that. Less about understanding that sometimes, it’s more about context than concept. See, it’s harder to write an essay about that. It’s much easier to discuss why Michelangelo’s speculated lifestyle choices made it difficult for him to paint a woman anatomically in proportion. How Bill Viola’s near-death experience in a lake influenced the involvement of water as a recurring motif, symbolising life and regeneration. Manet’s Olympia (1863) recognisably features a prostitute. The clues are in her state of very near total undress but with shoes and accessories still adorning her as remnants, reminding us that she was, before, dressed. A contrasting element against the traditional Virgin, depicted in nature and entirely untouched by societal constructs such as clothing. Pure.
See, I could’ve told you all of that when I was eighteen but I couldn’t have confidently explained Pollock to you. Expressionism just wasn’t concrete enough to me, despite having dabbled in creating work along those lines for years. I could tell you how I felt doing it, but not why someone else decided on it. I was looking too deeply into it because that’s what I’d been taught…
Gosh darn.
Wasn’t I missing the point? It’s more about feeling than thinking. It’s about the moment the artist does it; the moment the audience views it. Most importantly, it’s about appreciation and exploration.
The creation of the artwork above came about over the course of four years with a significant break in the middle. The bottle centred is reminiscent of July 1st, 2013: my first experience with ink other than ballpoint. One of many times I became a student of my sister’s. When I look at it, I think of the time I was doing it. On the pad I was working off, there was a bunch of watercolour testings to the side from a previous art session. I decided to combine them. This piece is an exploration of mixed media. It’s about where the paint fatefully fell, where the scissors severed the paper, how my hands tore the parchment. I wasn’t thinking of symbolic interpretations or subtle hints towards a greater message. I was just thinking of how it felt to follow my impulses and instincts over what felt right in the moment. If something didn’t sit with me well, I’d leave it until what I should change became clear. I tried to frame it initially, with some horrendous dark blue backing I was never contented by. I needed four years to realise that what it needed was not containing, but more freedom, passion and emotion in an explosive splatter of paint. Oh, how exciting to team ink, watercolour and acrylic! It’s an appreciation of colour, texture, form, balance, contrast, harmony, composition and positive space. And that’s absolutely all the dissection it needs. Art doesn’t always need that person questioning, “Yes, but what does it really mean?” It suffocates the simple beauty of this sort of art. If you try so hard to decode every element, then you end up with puzzle pieces instead of a piece of art. I suppose it might be a bit ironic to end with a kind of moral here but there is one thing I learnt from making this artwork. As is with life, if you accept you don’t know the answer now and don’t stress it out, the answer will come in its own time.


Working on the artwork (1/7/2013) Photo: Chloe Day




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