At Zumba today, as usual while jumping around like a mad person, my mind started to wonder and ponder, this time the topic that came to mind was: does good art have to be interesting? I was thinking specifically about video art and the sort of video art that is recorded in real time with not much going on.
A while ago, when I was experimenting with time-lapse videos and creating ‘days in the life’ of various rooms in my house one of my tutors at college asked me: yes, but, is it interesting? I didn’t have much to say in response. The answer is: actually, no, not hugely. However, it made a statement. It had a point. There was a message (about how the brain fits together stills to make a narrative). It said something. It was important. But was it interesting? Is importance enough? I’m not sure ordinary artists such as me can get away with importance without interest.
I find it quite disheartening that when I post a picture on facebook that I think is clever, quirky or unusual I get fewer comments and ‘likes’ than if I post what I would call a ‘pretty’ picture of a landscape or a cute child or a pet. Grayson Perry in his recent Reith Lectures talked about ‘pretty’ art being what most people want. If that is true, I worry about whether I will ever be able to make a living out of art. I don’t think so. I’m not good at pretty art. I don’t enjoy pretty art (in fact I find it quite stressful to try to be pretty).
Once a month on a Wednesday, I have been going to a meeting of arty people called ‘art squad’ at the Shrewbury Coffeehouse. During these meetings we get creative, exhibit work based on a theme, and drink coffee (or beer) and chat about arty things. At the start of the meeting people are given the chance to announce forthcoming exhibitions or plug themselves as an artist or creator of some sort. At the last meeting a lady stood up to announce a forthcoming event and passed around postcards advertising her practice which is portraits. Her work was incredible, absolutely stunning, but I don’t think I could do anything like it. I don’t think I could paint living things to commission for a living (and I certainly wouldn’t entertain the notion that I have the talent to do this). I don’t think I have a saleable style. I’ve talked here before about the fact that I can’t see myself as a street portrait artist either (due to lack of skill and lack of motivation).
So what will happen to me when I finish college? I suspect I will continue to fill the house with hundreds of paintings of my feet, my boots, ketchup bottles, my children’s favourite toys and abandoned flip flops.
Is that enough?