Doodles and Scribbles

I said a while back that I wanted to pull more of the creative parts of my life together in this blog. Well, I guess now’s as good a time as any.

Today, I have some doodles. Nothing too serious, just a little sketching to pass the time and clear my mind.

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Mmmm… ink on spiral bound.

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Pencil on paper… Yeah. It’s a tree.

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Colored pencil on scrap manila folder.

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Is that the right way up? I don’t even remember, anymore.

Light Bulbs and Bicycles and Beavers… Oh, my!

So, that’s a community art project. They had it out on tables where everybody could add a bit of glass, as they went by.  I think. It was a lot less finished the last time I saw it. I’m actually impressed by how well it turned out, and by the fact that nobody swallowed anything.

(Look, I took a snapshot! ’cause, spare time.)

I like this better than the kind of community art project where individuals design a giant light bulb, a sculptural bicycle, or… in one lamentable circumstance… a beaver statue. Probably because there’s just one of it, and it doesn’t leave the town covered in “might as well” style art. (Because, really, when are eighty artists ever going to independently decide to decorate giant fiberglass beavers?)

We do community art projects all the time around here.

First, you talk the local businesses into “sponsoring” a piece. (Buy me a beaver, anyone? Anyone? Awww, come on!) Then, you auction the piece off. And sure enough, the same business that sponsored it in the first place usually winds up buying it again the second time around.

We’re running out of businesses.

And I’ve never understood what’s in it for the artists. I suspect it’s one of those Do it for the exposure things we all despise, although the details vary. Seems to me someone I knew did a rocking chair, once… and had to pay for the chair and the materials.

Something like this mosaic actually seems a lot more sensible. There’s community participation. And there’s an artist at the center of it. I’d love to see more of this. They do murals that way, too. One artist does the heavy lifting and skills part, and then everybody picks up a brush to fill in the colors.

What do you think? Would a community art project that’s a little less rigid than bicycles or light bulbs do well? Something where you give the artists dimensions and let them do what they want?

Or would that just make the whole thing incoherent and random?

Art For The Few… and me

Art for the Few is a hashtag I found on Twitter today. The tweeter was thinking of a painting. Of Frida Kahlo’s What the Water Gave Me, to be precise. The tweet described the heartbreak of realizing that the painting you’re thinking of is in a private collection. #ArtForTheFew

The thing about visual art–paintings, sculptures, etc.–is that there’s only ONE original.

Writing is a more democratic art form. I write something, and make copies, and then one person or one million people all get to read the very same words. There might be some collectibles–hand bound, first-edition-y, autographed things–but the art, itself, is the same, whether you’re wearing kid gloves and reading a first edition, or flipping through a garage-sale paperback.

I write, but I also paint. I also draw. I also–when time and money and space allow-sculpt.

I don’t claim to be great art. I’m well and truly on the starving-artist end of the spectrum. I sell art, when I can, to friends, and along side the Beanie Babies at garage sales. Sometimes, I give it away. Most of the time, actually. Something to say Thank you, or I love you, or let’s be friends. Big pieces, sometimes, but I also make Artist Trading Cards specifically for the purpose of sharing.

Right now, ALL of my art is in private collections.

By which, what I mean, is in albums under beds, and boxes in closets, and on walls I’ve leaned against, while talking to friends.

An ex-boyfriend has one of my favorite paintings. I did a drawing of a train (More realistic, than my usual) for my friend’s grandfather.

And, round about 1938, Frida Kahlo had the same kind of stories. She gave What the Water Gave Me to an ex-lover to pay off a debt.

On the flip-side, I own a private collection. My friends have to send their work somewhere. And you know those starving artists? Yeah. They sell stuff. Some of it’s pretty good. (And, I encourage you to start your own private collection.)

So, something about #ArtForTheFew that bothers me is the disconnect between my art, the way I lived it, and the endgame, at which point, my art is some monumental, public thing that cannot–or at least, should notbe owned by one person. Because, obviously, I gave a lot of art to one-person type people.

I don’t know where that point is. When does art transform from the artist’s to his friend’s to his community’s to belonging to the universe? When does it become sacrosanct? When do you lose the right to sell it, to buy it, to own it?

It bothers me because it emphasizes the cost of art, instead of the value. As if the fact that one man owns one painting means there’s nothing left for anyone else. As if a few select things are art, and everything else–no matter how much you love it–is a pathetic second-best.

I believe that art is out there. I believe that good art is out there.

I believe there’s enough to go around, even if a few well-known or popular pieces are in private collections.