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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Idiom Savant: I'm an Anartist!

Let's get on with it. First of all, isn't that a great work by Goya? Too bad, a century ago philosophers commandeered the art business. The guy with his hands up is every traditional artist since then. The Critics and philosophers and professors moved in and stole our venue, our terms and social status. They made talent expendable and crucified our values with Bolshevik-style zeal and hatred. They changed art forever. If you do not think so, go to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, on any day, and see what creations are given the most prime or prestigious space.

The traditional artists of the mid-century era were unprepared to defend their realm and chose instead to wait for the pendulum to swing back to them and bring final justice. The philosophers took down the pendulum and hammered the nails to their coffin with it. Words like art and artist were reinvented and indoctrinated to several generations of "art lovers". The time-proven concepts of design, color theory, and drawing were disposed of. Standards were also disposed of, and these disciplines became personal and subjective. Today the very language and standards of art no longer represent what talented people have known and used for thousands of years.

"Art", which had been a discipline in communication and the pursuit of truth and beauty, has become an undisciplined pursuit of introspection and inner struggle. We are told that good art is a reflection of the philosophy of its time, regardless of how few hold to that philosophy. A free market was usurped by Elites who shut down the happy exchange of understandable symbols and imposed the narrow and elusive whims of existential thought.

The artists of old must find their own flag, claim their own hill, and disassociate themselves from the waste-heap that was their domain, and forge a new one free of the hurts and confusion over the tragic loss of Art. The pendulum is not coming back.

Here is what I am going to do. I will no longer think of myself as an artist. I do not identify with the "artists" considered "significant" to this century. I have little in common with them. I will no longer waste my energy fighting or trying to understand them. Like the philosophers they sprang from, they have nothing to do with anything. They have made art an extension of an irrelevant exercise which most of us care nothing about. To them I am not an artist. According to them, I never have been. That is settled. No hard feelings.

So what am I? I am a talented person who communicates my passion for life and beauty through sculptures and paintings. Although most Modern Art experts would refuse to make room in their concept of "Art" for my works, they never-the-less have to accept that I make paintings and sculptures, even though they betray ignorance of value and good taste. So I concede, and in fact am thrilled to divorce myself from their "art". I will create my own title. Even art enthusiasts will have to tolerate that.

They have no contempt for stained glass craftsmen. No hatred for basket weavers. No vendetta against potters. They do not persecute talented craftsmen of any medium, except those who dare to call themselves "artists", who operate outside of the current philosophical trend and their academic paradigms. It seems all that would be necessary to gain legitimacy and status and peace with these intolerant oppressors is to disclaim the now hollow and lifeless title of "artist". So I do so heartily. I am not an artist. I am not an artist. I am not an artist.

It will take some getting used to, but I feel invigorated already.

I am talented, and a creative person with paint and canvas and clay and whatever I can manipulate. I make stuff. People like it. I sell it and they buy it and we are all happy. This has got to be a good thing. We just have to make a name for it. It's not art. That's for museums and history books and university discussions. What I make gives everyday people a lift, a shot in the heart, without interpretation or discussion. "Art" is about verbal jousting with ten dollar words like perspective and juxtaposition and interrelatedness.

I will call what I do something that has to do with wordless communication and visual delight. This has got to be a good thing. Just thinking about it makes me proud that I am not an artist. I am something greater, someone more relevant and useful than an artist.

Decorations don't really describe what I do. Hand painted canvases are surely more special than wall paper. Original paintings like mine have all of the value of live music, or entertainment, except they are there, every day, every hour, and give the owner or user unlimited, lasting pleasure. This has got to be a good thing.

I'm a pictographer I guess. An iconographer. They sound too technical. An Artificer. That is exactly what I am but it sounds like a faker or con man. An "Artiste". It's in the dictionary. Sounds presumptuous. A humble artisan. Artworker. Arty, artillerist and artefacter. This is going to be tough. 

The old connotation of artist is far superior to any of these handles.

Picture maker. Art media technician. 

Dimensional communicator. 

Pigmentsmith. I've got to somehow combine talent, expertise and expression into one word. Expressionist, impressionist and abstractionist are already taken. I am an illusionist. But that has come to connote magician. This is harder than I thought. I've got to be something!

I'm sure those in the other camp do not care what I call myself. They are just glad to see me and my ilk out of their sphere. I guess there is no going back. I have got to find myself and all those like me a title.

I remember in college that someone wrote all over the art department "Ort will break your Hort". Well said. 

Aartist. Makes you want to yawn. Ahrtist. That looks stupid. Art maker… art person, art man, art reject. Not an artist. Non-artist. Not!

Image maker. Imagist. Imaginist. Imaginator. Sounds sci-fi. I know! I'll steal the idea that solved an ethnological semantic problem. American Indians became Amerinds. We'll be Amerartists!

All I want is my name back. What is it about a stupid name? Perhaps the right to bear it. The right to carry it with pride and dignity. The right to be who you are, without arrogant challenges and humiliation. 

Styles, trends, technologies and words change. We have the right to be who we were before they invaded. They should not be able to bully us away from our hard-earned titles. I want my name and my status and my vocabulary back. Nothing less will restore my loss.

I am an artist. The first kind. The original kind. The Coke Classic of culture. There is no other word for me. But perhaps vanquished. Anachronism. Anarchist...

 Anartist! That has possibilities. I am an anartist. No I'm not stuttering. What is keeeeeping that pendulum?

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