“There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists.”- E.H Gombrich
The other week as I was making an afternoon coffee in the kitchen, I was asked to describe Art in one word. As you read this perhaps you should do the same.
After a ten second pause, I came out with “freedom” and the question sprang back to mind as I was pondering what to write for this blog.
Leaving aside the U.Ks decision to leave the E.U and the general political upheaval which has since followed, subjects that have centred many discussions I have had recently, the question of what Art is, is something I have thought I lot about over the last couple of weeks.
I have fond memories of traipsing around Chesterfield town centre with my best friend, looking for different materials to use in our art projects. One which particularly sticks out was an afternoon spent scouring the charity shops for a baby doll to nail to a crucifix for my friends’ artistic take on the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. It was a piece of art which sparked controversy, not a bad thing, especially in Chesterfield.
I also have a vivid memory of taking pictures of her “drowning” in the swimming pool at school, as we both delved into the impact of climate change. For the same project she made me sit in my back garden, throw a bucket of luke-warm water on me and took pictures of my sodden, mascara dripping face.
In this vein I have leapt to the defence of many artists who broke free from the more traditional artistic conventions of paint on canvas. It’s also something I have thought a lot about whilst being at ROAR.
The diversity of our members and artists has been something I have been really quite astounded by. From the creation of sonic machines, to attaching a wheelchair to the skeleton of a piano, the concept of what art is at ROAR is vast, and this can only be a good thing.
For many artists, perfectionism is the inner demon; it is difficult to ever create or replicate exactly what is in your mind. But I am starting to think that it is only through freeing your mind of what Art is, that you actual create real art. I believe the best art comes from allowing yourself to fail; thinking to yourself “this is going to look terrible” or “this sounds awful” may stop you from creating the best piece of work you have ever done. And it is that freedom to truly think, for want of a better phrase “outside the box”, that makes artists unique and so integral to society.
So perhaps there is no such thing as Art, perhaps, as E.H Gombrich said “there are only ever artists.”