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I can paint cats... A Controversial Commentary on Abstract Expression Versus Subjective Art

The Dream Chaser Laptop Sleeve by TET. Available from RedBubble.
The Dream Chaser
Laptop Sleeve by TET.
Available from RedBubble.
The video, below, will no doubt be a bit controversial so let me say from the outset, I do like good abstract expressionist art. In fact I am in awe of artists who can create work in this genre that holds my attention.

Also, if you're not familiar with my art, you need to know that I have painted more pictures of stylized cats than any other animal.

What frustrates me to no end is abstract expressionist artists who compare my art to that of a skilled crafts person and imply that I am not a real artist. What they mean is that I have learnt how to draw and paint much like a craft person learns how to turn wood or knit a jumper. My work lacks true expression and does not reveal my inner being in the way abstract expressionist, non-representational artwork does.

In doing so they imply that their art is a higher art than mine. Total rubbish.

Abstract Expressionism is like every other art form. It can be learned. The more you practice the better you get. The more you learn to tap into your emotional self the more you'll be able to express yourself through non representational art. My point being, abstract expressionist artists are no different from me and no different from wood turners and knitters.

Great crafts people put a lot of emotion into their work. As do I put a lot of emotion into my work. I'm not trying to impress people by saying (in my case) look how well I can paint cats. Just like the expressionist, I'm hoping my work might provoke an emotional response such as a smile, empathy, sadness or any number of emotions depending on the juxta position of my characters and subject matter.

That said, the next time an abstract expressionist stares down their nose at what I do I'd just like to remind them that children, before they learn how to represent their world through art, are natural abstract expressionists. They paint using colours and marks based on what they feel like doing in the moment - and they didn't spend any time learning how to do that. They don't naturally paint cats that look anything like my cats and they can't knit jumpers or turn wood either!

Comments

  1. Love seeing your work in progress. Very nice.
    Lauren.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Lauren. The work in progress shots are quite an old bit of footage (from 2002), nice to finally have a reason to dust them off and show them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the speeded up film of the painting, but don't know how you managed to put it all together! I suppose it is alot of different shots all played fast in sequence to each other? (Why am I getting a squeaky noise when you speak - it seems to be to do with the microphone?)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I took about 1 photo every 30 seconds whilst I was painting (had my web cam set up to take the photos automatically). I then just put them all together like they animate cartoons - flipping through one picture at a time quickly.

    Squeaky noise could be because I sometimes 'whistle' my 's' sound. I try not to do it but don't always succeed. Not that used to speaking out loud.

    ReplyDelete

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