Painting "Socks" the Cat

Behind every painting there is a story however, with my latest artwork "Socks" (the cat) there really is only something of a rant. In creating "Socks" I wanted to demonstrate that any half decent artist can stand in front of a blank canvas and paint 'something'.

In painting 'something' I mean painting an image with no pre-planning, deep thought or preliminary sketching what-so-ever. In simple terms, the artist just starts painting and sees what emerges from the marks made as the painting develops. So many artists seem to be creating work like this now.

I suspect this has come about with the pressure on professional artists to earn a living from what they do. Working in this format allows for a high turn out of art thus creating a larger inventory for sales. However in doing so, I feel that the artist compromises their talent by producing largely, forgettable art.

The most thinking I did for "Socks" was that I planned to paint something based on my existing style of cat characters. After that it was paint until I could see a finished cat. I didn't even plan that this cat would be sitting, looking like he's pulling up his socks. That's just what emerged, two hours later, from the brush strokes I began with.

"Socks" will never be remembered as a 'great' work of art (if, indeed, he is remembered at all).

Non artists may look at "Socks" and think that it is a pretty good painting. As an artist I look at this kind of work and think... "yeah, it's okay but it's not really the best I can do."

There's not much skill and very little craft involved. I'd like to know when these two elements of creating an artwork became so less important in comparison to the spontaneous emotion, experimental exploration and fleeting impressions that seems to dominate contemporary creative process.

I'd like to aspire to something greater. I'd like to view art that encourages me to do so. I want to be inspired by new ideas rather than past masters. Do artists really need to churn out art like a machine or would you pay a little more for art that is obviously more thought out and crafted?

2 comments:

  1. Honestly, I think there is plenty of room for both types of artist. In particular a book illustrator. Every page preplanned and art directed. But sometimes the skill and imagination are amazing. Art spans so much, from the gallery artist to a graphic designer working first from a written assignment. It's not worth taking on an elitist position. You close yourself off from getting inspiration from even the simplist of things. Your cat is charming and clever. You've got an interesting blog, but I had to put my 2 cents worth in, even if it's worth only 1 cent. lol

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  2. Hey, thanks for the comment (even 1 cent comments are good). I guess I'm seeing too much of this kind of work around lately and I wonder why it seems more accepted than other contemporary works that obviously required more skill and craftsmanship to create.

    I'm guilty of creating this spontaneous type of work quite a bit and in fact some of my best work was created this way (thus answering my own question). I wouldn't rate "Socks" as my best but he's not too shabby either ;)

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