Thursday, June 21, 2012

Justifying bad art

I've written about bad art before.  I don't like bad art.  I couldn't imagine there could be a justification for bad art.  I was wrong.

The beauty in calling yourself an artist is this, even a bad artist can call themselves an artist.  Seriously.  You don't have to be able to make a living at it.  You don't have to have your work approved by anyone, but yourself.  If you believe you are an artist, you can call yourself an artist, for no other reason than you want to.  Producing art isn't like, for example, juggling.  I mean, if you want to call yourself a juggler, it may help if you can actually keep some balls in the air.  :)  (You can do ANYTHING

There is a relatively recent phenomenon out in the world of art.  It is a thing called an Artist's Statement.  Of late, this statement has become a necessary component of an artist's portfolio or promotional package, because...?  Your art cannot speak for itself?  This is especially important if you produce bad art.  If your art looks as if it were produced by your children, you must write an artist statement.  This is crucial.  Don't worry, when writing your artist statement you can use words that are so vague they can make it sound like what you produce is art, without having to actually say it is art.  After all, you don't want to be called a liar AND an artist.

Like this artist's statement,"Her works are found in private collections and some of the most famous museums in nations throughout the world."  If it's true, don't hesitate to be specific.

If you say you have been dabbling, dipping, and dunking in the visual arts since your mom bought you a set of watercolors when you were three years old and your art has been mistaken for your child's artwork, this may not be the best sentence to have in your Artist's Statement.  If you want to describe your art as using brilliant colors with dark overtones that nature provided in your youth, please don't insinuate you do so because you grew up in coal mining country and you see everything through an inch of coal dust.  Be honest, tell people you can't find the light.  If you say you are a multi-media artist, in pastel, colored pencil, photography, acrylic, acting, singing, dancing, and the written word, be able to prove it.  Because if you think everything you touch becomes art, this limits your credibility as an actual artist.  Pick an area or two.  If you truly want to express your artist’s heart and soul, it would be nice to see effort being put forward, instead of a halfhearted attempt at whatever hit your fancy this particular day.

Now you know what an artist has to do to justify calling whatever it is they produce, art.  I have a gift for you.  Here is a tool to use when visiting art centers or art shows or art fest or even an actual gallery.  I found an art critique site, click here.  All you have to do is plug in any five digits and a phrase will appear for your use in communicating with an artist in their own language.  This is a great tool for those of us with the idea that art should be able to speak for itself and we don't want to embarrass the artist when they ask us what we think.  

For example, 55555:  Although I am not a painter, I think that the subaqueous qualities of the purity of line makes resonant the distinctive formal juxtapositions.  (this would be great for anything with paint on it)

Or, 99999:  As an advocate of the Big Mac Aesthetic, I feel that the metaphorical resonance of the sexy fish threatens to penetrate the exploration of montage elements.  (this could be used for any waterscape, human form, or even something with blue on it

Yes.  This says it all.  I'm not sure if this site has been made into a iPhone app yet.  I hope so.  Oh my goodness, it would come in very handy.

384.  I know I've said it before, but it's worth saying again, air conditioning
385.  Remembering that weeks that seem as long as this week seems makes it seem like my life is longer
386.  Healthy Choice soup cups for the microwave (especially butternut squash)
387.  Only having to deal with musicians and professors half of my work week
388.  The holy spirit giving me excitement to study the book of Mark
389.  A good night's sleep

from The Museum of Bad Art


  1. I end up going to gallery showings and such with my artsy friends and usually resort to the ambiguous "wow!"  

  2. So true. The Phrase Generator is hilarious for the digging into 'artists'. And I read so many of these artist statements at exhibitions, I'm at a loss to actually relate the statement with the 'art' hanging on the walls.

  3. the sexy fish threatens to penetrate the exploration of montage elements...why is it that line scares me just a bit...i rather like bad art...smiles...there is a humorous element...

  4. A humorous element?  There is an understatement, if I've ever heard one.  :)

  5.  No you can use the critique generator and have even more syllables to utter.  :)

  6. Hahahahaa.  I have a hard time with people doing things and calling it art.  Back in the olden days you were either an artist or you weren't depending on the very factual basis of, you can paint or not.  Nowadays people love art so they go to art school and do "mixed media" and "splatter art" and "urination art".  It's crap!  No pun intended.  I am totally fascinated with art history however.  :)

  7. I was always wondering what I could say when at the museum or art exhibits, HA, now I have all sorts of things to say ;)

  8. The generator is now on my favorites. I should memorize a few!

  9. uh oh--i may be a little guilty of liking some bad art---i do like so many different styles--i didn't know there was a butternut squash soup--now i gotta try that--thanks:)

  10. You're an idiot. 

  11. I love hearing from my followers in Baltimore, MD.  They are so articulate.  :)


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