"Don't give up that day job..."
Recently a 13 page letter and an undiscovered poem titled "The new Remorse" were discovered in a dusty old wardrobe. The letter (written around 1890) was a hand written advisory to an up and coming writer, who sought advice on literary success from Wilde. It seems Wilde was direct and to the point. He basically saw much wisdom is pursuing one's creative life in one's spare time, and advised the writer not to give up a life of work and salary for art or creativity.
"The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer."
Strangely, most poets would agree that writing poetry is not a path to financial wealth and happiness. It has been repeated many times, and I even heard it said by the poet Seamus Heaney. In the material world we have today, most of what goes on and most of what we do, comes down to material things. It is simply a statement of factuality. We cannot exist without first having the financial means of supporting ourselves. But can art and creativity, independent from debt and bills and a dependence on money - be truly pursued? So was Wilde's words of wisdom true or out of step with modern times?
Wilde also added in his letter: "Make some sacrifice for your art and you will be repaid but ask of art to sacrifice herself for you and a bitter disappointment may come to you."As the letter and poem come up for auction, many people in the creative and art world will debate this matter, just as Oscar Wilde did, all those 120 odd years ago.
A warm (because it is actually very warm) St. Patrick's Day celebration to you all, and thank you for supporting the blog and everything! Best wishes for the weekend and the next week from my Missus Mandy and myself.
If by some strange chance you see any little people wandering around, or funny little guys with beards and green hats, don't worry. That's a different festival day, because those critters work for Santa! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
Enjoy the weekend and the holiday! - from Alan & Mandy!
A recent feature on art in a blog caught my attention. It was about showing or exhibiting original art on blogs or websites. The blogger said it was basically a waste of time and energy putting original art anywhere on the web in public as it would be scraped, copied, stolen, or somehow duplicated somewhere else. The point was well made. But for an artist to decide to undo the process of showing one's art to the world runs against the artistic temperament. As artists, we all need to show our creations to the world. One thing we can also do is watermark our art and make it so that if it appears anywhere else, we know it is our original work because of that tag or attached security created for it. Adobe Photoshop would be one such place to start, as this software has watermark creation technology. Let's face it. There is a lot of stolen content on the web. But that should not stop us making original art.
"Conversation" by Kadar Bela
In the world of art and great paintings, we are used to certain typical great names standing out. Degas, Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, and so on. Their names instantly transport us to a frame of mind of their artwork. What comes from their eyes, from within their imagination - is the sum of their dreams, vision, emotions, memories and talent. What usually results, is whatever influences them, no matter how amazing or unusual, or dark that imagination.
In this painting Kadar Bela's "Conversation" is a classic painting, but much less well known when compared to some great artists. He lived from 1877 to 1956, and his art is quite revolutionary. He is one of the reasons that Hungary is famous for great paintings and painters.
Some artists paint something safe and pleasing and reassuring, while others choose a more darker subject or theme. Edward Munch chose some dark subjects to paint, as his painting "The Scream" eloquently shows.
Bela was not afraid to depict his subjects, in this case, 2 nude ladies sitting in apparent conversation, seemingly oblivious to the artist who sat painting them, just feet away. The immediate sense one gets from looking at how it is created and framed makes us think of many modern precepts in art and design, even logos of MTV, and modern art of the 2000's. The arrangement of the seated women, the odd yet amazing framing of one woman inside a blue frame, the unusual object that divides colours in the center of the work, but which somehow harmonizes the painting, and the rendering of the women - so much like the abstract style of Picasso and other figure painters. Bela's art is so revolutionary, that the consequences of just how transformational his style is - still rings true today in many kinds of art and across many creative mediums, from advertising to TV to motion pictures and more still...
In art, we begin learning by painting what we see. but when we have practiced this for long enough, and hopefully become bored with it, we progress beyond formal drawing and painting by rote, or rule - and we venture into the unknown. That place is the dark and strange recesses of our own imaginations. It can be a scary place. it can be confusing, having to ditch all those rules on how to draw and compose. But when we see art that stops us in our tracks and makes us confront a different kind of thinking, that is because that artist is revealing that imagination to us and we have to work to decrypt its meaning or massage. The potential rewards of this are endless, for a true lover of art.
The courage to paint well, and transform our work from the mere "usual" we produce - into something more - requires a change from us. That change consists of a conversation we have with ourselves, where we decide that we have to migrate to another plane as artists. That other place is the base from which we forge that new "self". Art is an amazing medium. It is hugely forgiving, and accommodates this transition, provided we understand the few conditions of having to produce works of some kind of value. We can study the Greats in art, like Kadar Bela, and become more than we thought we could be.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. ~ Erica Jong
I could have put any great painting or image by any of the usual great artists in this blog. I chose Bela because he doesn't get the credit he richly deserves. By studying the thinking and the techniques and works of masters such as Bela, we become better at appreciating quality art, and as artists, we can grow and be inspired enough to follow in those footsteps. We can emulate their way of creating and enable them to inform us as to how we can evolve as they did. Learning the rules of art - and then bending them. Or even breaking them.
Alan Mc Keogh - March 2013, Singapore.
Alan Mc Keogh
I am an artist, web and blog designer, and I enjoy creating art, whether people, still life, or landscapes. I blog and write to grow the masses. Logos are a growing passion here. Come to me, brethren! New projects coming soon.