Oh dear, another art rant…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s rather silly Victorian expletive is ‘Jumping Jehosophat!’ – The use of the two initial letter ‘J’s kind of give the game away don’t they? This person obviously would secretly like to come out with that popular and powerful expletive, ‘Jesus!’, or perhaps even the more visually amusing ‘Jumping Jesus!’

Right then… You see, amongst humans there are some special ones that the other humans call ‘artists’. These ‘artists’ tend to do things on their own which they think will interest and amuse the rest of their fellow humans; they generally don’t contribute to, or join in with, the things that the other humans like to do: such as producing food, making and building things, selling things to each other, and killing other humans, that for some reason they decided that they don’t like, in wars, and so on, but the other humans do generally put up with these ‘artists’.
The things that the ‘artists’ do are: making pictures, sculptures, making up songs and singing them, using various media to tell stories about other humans, or in fact anything that they can think of to both draw attention to themselves and say things about the world and what all the other humans have been up to.
Now, for thousands of years the accepted convention has been that these things that the ‘artists’ do have been put on or viewed in ‘special places’, where the humans who like paintings, juggling, songs, plays, music, sculpture, etc. can go to experience it – a visit to the ‘special place’ was all part of the art experience for them. This is how it has been for a long long time, and it has worked remarkably well.
Unfortunately over the last few years some of the ‘artists’, who perhaps weren’t too popular with the other humans, and were perhaps not very good at their ‘art’, decided to bypass this system altogether and present their art in public places, so that instead of the other humans choosing to go to the ‘special places’ to experience the ‘artist’s’ creations, they found that the ‘work’ was thrust upon them in their daily life, whether they wanted it or not.
These ‘public’ things are created by people called ‘graffiti artists’ or ‘street artists’, there are buskers or ‘street musicians’, jugglers, acrobats, and ‘actors’ performing in ‘street theatre’, etc.
These things have always gone on in our streets, but back then the graffiti images and words were usually just scrawled or scratched on the walls of toilets, or down out-of-the-way dark dirty alleys – and the music in the street was relatively quiet, perhaps a barrel organ or an unaccompanied singer outside a public house.
Now the graffiti is big, brash, and everywhere, and even when it is done with some kind of style or aesthetic sense, which is rare, it brutalises the environment and degrades the look of the building that it is on. The ‘street musicians’ instead of just singing their bland songs to a strummed guitar or blowing a few panpipes to a backing track, now have battery-powered amplifiers which make them audible from streets away, and to walk past them is actually painful.
This human thinks that this is an imposition and a coarsening of our world; these arrogant pushy ‘artists’ show no respect for other humans, their audience, and to force their work on other people is not what art is about. Art is supposed to enhance our environment, not degrade and dumb it down…
Come on fellow humans! Let’s rise up and stop all this ego-fuelled nonsense!…
(Meeting in the church hall tonight 7.30 pm. Tea and biscuits provided.)


About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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15 Responses to Oh dear, another art rant…

  1. Dana Doran says:

    Dave, Dave, Dave…I always wonder if it is appropriate to comment on a rant (?) Okay. I will. What IS art? No one agrees. I’m sure if we went back to Aristotle and Socrates they would tell you that scribbles on a (public) wall are not, and that performing on a musical instrument without the technical skill to do so, is not. Perhaps this human tried to gain recognition of his “work” by traditional means but was so frustrated by his lack of engagement with other humans resulting in rejection that he simply had to force humans to see or hear it….we certainly wouldn’t make an appointment or pay to see it. (haha, to solve my need to share my work I started a blog……maybe I am just as guilty as the human who thought he was an artist and used a wall as his substrate?) Then there is Banksey….but, we’ll skip him as an outlier with supremely inventive ways to get noticed….albeit difficult for a collector to own. Now when I search the world for opportunities to make art for money or exhibit my little creations I find increasingly and speaking to your objections (finally) that cities and towns across the US are asking for artists/teams to create “public art” — which seems to mean decorating the side of something that isn’t aesthetically acceptable with grants that run above $25,000! (haha, putting a shine on a sewage treatment plant, thus pretending to disguise the function of the installation!) My point being that any day now, some gang member whose resume consists of spray painting freeway overpasses with gang signs will be hired by Seattle to install public art – – – and since the city PAID money to have it created it will be hailed as iconic! Or, I can just keep plodding along waiting for the day that an ultra rich geopolitical human will find humor in my work, purchase it (that will be my joke on him) and put it in his collection, housed in a museum that he owns to be cared for with the money collected by charging the curious public to enjoy his possessions. Did I say that out loud?

    • Dave Whatt says:

      My Dear Dana – I agree with almost everything you have said here, except on Banksy – I wish he’d come and do one on the front my house, then I’d take the greatest pleasure in immediately going out and scraping it off again…
      Oh, and by the way, I have never made any money out of my art, and I have given up on even the idea of such a thing. This internet stuff will have to do as exposure for my things.

  2. Claudia says:

    I’m a fun writer — which is an art — and I dabble in Art’s other branches, too. Maybe its because I don’t take myself so seriously that I’m not offended if someone hangs my art or reads my blogs. But then again, I’m not the normal artist either…

  3. I totally get you with music thing, yes that is most annoying. Especially when you get Eastern cultures dressed as North American Indians, playing Golden Brown on their accordion. But the street art…..well I like it. When done well, it brightens up the place. http://www.adventuresaroundscotland.com/uploads/2/4/2/9/24290443/8938188_orig.jpg 🙂

  4. Re so-called “street musicians” you aught tae come tae Glasgow at the weekend and be “serenaded” by bloody bagpipes played badly on every other street corner. That’ll teach ye about pain!

  5. Bloke in Stroud plays a Bontempi organ so badly that I’m convinced that people pay him to stop.

  6. Great blog, agree with everything there…

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