Lately I've been working really hard on putting together a bunch of work, since in my infinite wisdom I decided to take 4 studio courses this semester. Not that I don't love creating, just wish I could take a weekend to relax and regenerate. Anyway, I've completed a couple of new things, including a painting titled "Family Dinner", the largest non-mural painting I've ever completed (96" x 48"). I'll be adding a pic of it real soon hopefully, at least to this blog section of my site. I'm now working toward completing somewhere in the ball park of another 4 or so large scale works (48" x 60" is the largest of the upcoming group thus far). Not even 100% sure what they'll be yet, but thats 1/2 the fun. Also, I have been working on some printmaking stuff, so that has been pretty exciting as well (some dry point, and some photo-litho stuff as well).
Anyway, I was watching Ovation TV (ch. 157 on dish) and on came a special on Lowbrow art called "The Lowdown on Lowbrow". I watched it, really, because I was so prepared to hate lowbrow stuff but you can't hate what you don't know (I think). So mind wide open, I watched the special and found only that it just made me ask more questions. I understand the concept of going against this ridiculous nature of art that has come up through the decades- basically that for much of it, it either becomes entirely too complex ideologically for the laymen to understand or there is so little there that it actually means nothing (for lack of a better term, fucking minimalism). And, frankly, as someone with a background in graffiti, I also get the pop-art references with cartoons and what have you. What gets me though is what its supposed to be or do. I took some notes during the documentary on what questions I have about Lowbrow, and art in general. Does art require talent- honestly, I think so. Good art, anyway. Ready art is dead, and should have never lived past Duchamp's urinal. I think its like the word "Fuck"- use it too much and it loses punch. Pretty much all of the artsits the documentary showed definitely have picture producing and material using talent. There is absolutely no question about that. But one thing I can't seem to get my head around is the "what you see is what you get" attitude. Isn't that what representational art is for? Is it just supposed to be fun? (nothing wrong with that) I don't think art really needs to say anything. Abstract, pop, expressionist, representational... either the work says something about the artist, something the artist cares about, or nothing at all. What the documentary told me is that the lowbrow movement basically came together for those artsits that "wanted to play too, but had to build their own sandbox to do it". There is something to be said for that, I think. I think if art is too inaccessible, it becomes about status and class instead of a real message (if there is one). In any case, though, I feel that the function of art should be clear, whether its decorative, political, socially driven, or whatever. I'm just not sure what the function of lowbrow art is. I don't mean to put it down (though its not my cup of tea, at all). I'm just trying to understand how these artists answer the whats and whys.