Friday, August 21, 2009

Questions in a world of blue...

I was feeling stumped again for blog material..

Not sure how much longer I can keep this up, I don't want this blog to go away but I don't want to just write filler or waste your time either. Anyway, I asked some friends on facebook for some suggestions for blog topics this week and I received many great ideas. Here is the one I thought I could run with for today's post.

Kelly Price-Colston (fellow Fayetteville Underground Studio mate and talented artist) Asks : In such a consumer market with fast food, one hit wonders and instant gratification- what is the role of the artist now, and in the future... in your opinion?

Painter Francis Bacon said, "The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."

I have to agree with Bacon's statement. Mystery is what I am looking for in the art I make, view and buy. As Kelly alludes, we are stuck in this fast food world, just spinning our wheels, looking for quick fixes to fill the voids we may carry or to transport us away and numb us. We often go for the quick fix, looking for the next item du jour, and a side of fries with that, while we spin faster down the road towards the next mindless binge and purge. This does not sound very mysterious at all.

So what is the artist's role in this fast and sick world? I think our role is to get people to slow down long enough to feel again. To transport them away deep inside a work of art and perhaps into themselves or even allow them into our mind and get them to see things from our point of view. Perhaps it is a bit like taking a world encased in grey cinder blocks and neon, littered with burger king wrappers, and the hum of bad mass produced pop music and transforming it into a lush place covered in thick red velvet drapes, ambient light, brimming with poppies and the music of Eric Satie.

The artist's job is to provide solace for the soul even if just for a moment. I am not saying all art needs to be sweet and easily digestible, but that it offers some sustenance that the viewer is not finding in the "regular" world. Most art is one of kind and made by human hands and humbly so; just in the way it is made helps to remind the viewer of the value of humanity and the peace that comes from slowing down. Perhaps our job as an artist is also to remind people to live their dreams and that sometimes it is more important to be a bit poor and do what you love, than to be caught up in the rat race of society. Artists bring value, clarity, thought, and beauty into the world while at the same time artists question, push boundaries, and explore the dark places.

I think our job has been constant throughout time and will continue that way in the future, to be a job of sacrifice in order so that the world may awaken, feel and experience great beauty, innovation, pain, and of course a deepening mystery...

What is your opinion? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Becoming Extinct
© 2009 Megan Chapman
100 flashes of memory


  1. Awesome post!!

    I like this subject. I like musing on what makes people tick - hence my Life Coaching education. The process of Life Coaching is a lot about getting back to basics and remembering how to recognise feelings and to FEEL those feelings. When this happens people suddenly have clarity, understanding and a yearning for more. I think the artist's role is to also help people to remember. A simple scene of mountains on a misty morning will bring feelings of remembering and longing - it connects and reminds us. With deeper art I think the fun starts with it being open to interpretation, and where someone may dismiss it, another will have a deep and profound connection with it. Thats when they realise they need this piece of art on their wall to remind them, to fuel them and to resonate on deep levels. They may not even understand why they love it so, but they just do and they need it in their lives. A point of escapism even.
    Art will never die. Thank God!
    Art will always talk louder than words, communicate better than words and give us connection to a higher plane.

    The world will always need communicators on many levels.

  2. Creative people sometimes land in "jobs" at places like ad agencies. Inside their hearts, these people are deep, mysterious, artisitic souls.

    We all are. Everyone is. Artist, or accountant, engineer, or fire fighter, gardener, or chemist.

    I love that art, taking as many forms as there are people, can bring pause and "bring solace for the soul even if just for a moment."

  3. Mystery and magic, revelation from unknown corners of the mind. I use these all the time as themes and as SOURCES. Art has always truly seemed like a magical process to me. When a magician does "magic", it's a trick, fooling the eye. When artist creates, making something from nothing, inventing whole new worlds that never existed before...THAT IS magic. And that is the feeling I get from it as well. Where it all comes from, why this image and not that, what does it mean?? the viewer may ask, and the artist as well. we are often the LAST to REALLY know what we are doing and why. it is only years later that I sometimes finally see what I was about on a particular image...mysterious indeed. That is the real JOY of walking into the studio...having no idea what may happen next, to just begin and let the images find and reveal themselves...what a thrill.

  4. Those driven to create move in all worlds except this one. There is no art, only passion

  5. I think that artists serves many roles, but one role, in this very worldly, very materialistic society, is a very important one. I think that artists serve as modern day shamans. There are many ways to open up the mystery, whether it's getting people to slow down and look at the miracles of life or to consider the strange and dark sides of life.

  6. I agree with all this too, I also like the thought up there referring artists to modern day shamans.

    I'm learning more and more befriending the mystery in my own everyday life seems to be a crucial part of all of this. Passion with some uncomfortableness keeps my art going, gets me to dig deeper and explore the outside world much further than I did when I wasn't painting.

    Megan this reminder of what we are doing as artist's is so good and sometimes that feeling of "what am I doing this for", "does anyone else get this (the need to create part) " can put a big damper on things.

    Feeling a sort of connection to mystery, beauty, passion, thought, color ect... is amazing.

  7. artists have an absurd notion of clarity since we are often beings that move against the forces of nature and popularity. the artist shares not only the burden of meaningful creation, but also simple survival in a world where the price tag is often the proving grounds if it's "real art" or not.

    an artist is a watchdog. culturally, economically and emotionally- artists always throw the party and, subsequently, clean up after the party has moved on. in many ways, the artist has to be just as chaotic, in my opinion, as the sick society we live in in order to keep making a valid point. this, and all the while mindful of the fact that we must, in turn, bring a seductive tranquility to the audience long enough to connect- and hopefully, make a sale.

    because let's not forget that while starving is romantic and delivers a certain poignancy to our work, art certainly cannot continue to inspire the world without money.

    i love this topic and i could talk about it all day long- but i'll leave you with something by Bukowski to round out the corners of my thoughts lately:

    "There is a time to stop reading, there is a time to STOP trying to WRITE, there is a time to kick the whole bloated sensation of ART out on its whore-ass."

  8. What's already been said is certainly valid and agreeable, and what is about to said may sound simplistic and possibly even glib or silly to some, but the role of the artist is to produce "wows". Possibly a wow of disgust, perhaps a wow of contentment, maybe a wow of amazement, lighthearted or heavy, silent or vocal, implied or implicit, spoken to none or to all -- it doesn't really matter as long as the wow is evoked. As for missing wows? Then the artist must just try harder.

  9. Revelations
    capturing a time
    artist perspective
    emotional translation
    presenting the viewer with a pathway, passage.

  10. I'm glad you did not pick today to stop writing pieces on your blog. Reading it was a like extending the moment between the breath, just a little longer. Thanks for sharing.

    I love much of what is in the comments, one little thought. artists would do well to always be on guard lest we fall into a deep hole only to emerge thinking our work is somehow important