Apr 10, 2014

Artistic inclinations

It's a hard thing to pin down. It is fraught with pitfalls and foibles, charms and delights. It can drive you mad with frustration, or set you free like nothing else can.
Pure art is about creation. Pure art is unsullied by greed or jealousy. Pure art is about being at one with your mind, your skill, your vision.

Art can also be a very ugly thing. It can attract vultures. People who use artists and their creations for their own greedy needs. Artists themselves can be really nasty toward other artists too. I include myself in that list, by the way. I cannot, and will never, understand the attraction to Henri Mattisse!

Being an artist is all about personal taste. I love the work of figurative and semi-realistic artists such as Frank Frazetta, Arthur Rackham, Larry MacDougall, Greg Staples, Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Jean-Baptiste Monge. This is my taste. I like artists that are highly skilled and stylistically refined. They have immense talent, but have a foundation of solid draftsmanship and steadily accumulated skill.
I do not like the work of 'artists' such as Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread, Gary Hume and unfortunately, the majority of the modern art world. Again, this is my taste.

My taste shows in my work, I believe. I am attracted to artists whose work I admire, but also wish to produce my own work of a similar aesthetic taste. This is not to say that I want to copy or emulate. It means that I look at the work of somebody like John Bauer, with his dark and moody forests, unusual creatures, cute heroes and heroines and expertly executed style, and these things are exactly what I want to do with my own work. I want moody forests, unusual creatures, etc. But is that copying? Not at all. That is sharing artistic desires and tastes.
Many of the artists I like and follow will never be accepted by the mainstream fine art world as one of their own. There has always been that divide between what is perceived as the 'serious' arts and the lesser kind. I'm kinda okay with that though. It has been my experience that artists who like to get mucky in the lesser arts, be it comics, illustration or whatever, tend to be far less pretentious and much more talented!

But does that mean that the mucky arts and the fine arts are mutually exclusive and the walls between are impassable? Not in the slightest. Many artists have mastered both, and have been accepted into both. Sometimes this is good (Durer, Pyle, etc.) but it is often less to my liking. There seems to be a wave of modern illustrators, what I would call 'abstract illustrators,' that produce work almost diametrically contrary to the illustration tradition of figurative skill and storytelling ability. I'm no fan of it and I don't want it in my house!

Personally, I'm all for a bit of high and low art. The majority of my work would be considered low - the Faerie art, the fantasy stuff. But I would also like to be a good landscape artist; portraiture would be something I'd like to have the skill to do well too. And why shouldn't I? Why can't I have my artistic cake and eat it too!? There's an Irish artist, called P J Lynch, who has it right, I think. He produces spectacular work in the world of illustration like this-

And is also a master painter-

That's the way to do it, I think, to be open to new media, new approaches, new disciplines. All in the pursuit of art.
I am a Faerie illustrator, but I am also an artist. I will mostly be producing artwork like this-

But I want to do more of this sort of thing too-
The Pillars. Acrylics on Board. A3ish.
Any objections?

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