Friday, October 20, 2017

The Specialist, The Anti-Artist

Artists often become specialists, gradually becoming better and better at their chosen technique to the point of mastery, yet this, like any restriction, is a death of creativity, and thus the death of artistry. In such artists, their technique becomes less and less creative as it becomes more and more focused and refined (consider, for example, a hyper-realistic portrait painter). The philosophy at work is that the subject is what is creative in such artists, not the technique, yet frequently this too becomes more and more restricted because as artists attain their mastery they tend to specialise in subjects as well as in their craft, specialising in portraits, or trees, or animals, limiting both their subject and their technique, always moving down a narrower and narrower tunnel as they work over the years, more and more constricted, mechanical, blind. At this point, is the artist creative at all? More to the point, does and artist need to be creative?

The answer is of course, yes, yes! The point of art is creativity, to discover new things and to push humanity towards new ideals. If art is about humanity, communication between people, then the artist must be an explorer and curious, a communicator or feelings and ideas. To specialise is to become more mechanical, as machine-like as our hyper-realistic portrait painter. A camera or computer can never be an artist, they can only communicate what it means to be a camera or a computer, which is of interest only to other cameras (or academics, the killers of art by analysis).

The artist is an explorer, and what he or she explores is the new, the future, things that are now unseen. The only way this can be accomplished is creatively. Specialisation limits creativity, and at its most extreme is a hindrance, not an aid.

If art is about creativity, how can an artist learn? Advancement is ruling in and ruling out, evolution, and mastery of technique is important if an artist is to create good quality work, yet an artist must always be aware of the limitations of specialisation. In short, the ideal artist is master of all techniques, and able to pick and choose the best one for each situation.

It is always more creative, and a greater display of ability, to be good at several techniques than to master any one.

Errors and omissions frankly probable. This is one of several musings on life the universe and everything listed in the Writing and Essays section of www.marksheeky.com

Monday, October 16, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 42: Modern Philosophers

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 42: Modern Philosophers
Broadcast Monday 16 October 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Steven Goodwin.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Deborah Edgeley, An Uncanny Solitary
Mike Fuller, John Cage
Mark Sheeky, Homage to 4:33 by John Cage
Andrew Williams, Nietzsche
Stephen Pennell, New Wisdom
Spephen Pennell, Ideology
Lavinia Murray, Descartes Dinner
Lavinia Murray, Jean Baudrillard Goes Shopping
Rebecca Cherrington, Philosophers
Lavinia Murray, Swedenborg

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Friday, October 13, 2017

Creativity

Or why creative ideas are unpopular, and popular ideas are uncreative!

Governments eschew the value of having a creative economy, the value of creativity. Free thinking and creative acting has great benefits. Revolutionary ideas demand it, and can transform the world drastically for the better. Yet, governments rarely actually mean that they would actually like creative ideas. For a start, creative ideas are always and necessarily subversive, and always and necessarily unpopular.

Even in art, projects often list in their success criteria for an idea or submission that it is creative, which is rarely true. Someone, at some point, must after all judge which idea is the most creative. The result must surely be the least fashionable and least popular, criteria which are rarely selected for, and even more rarely desirable. Sometimes, briefs or specifications for art projects request that a proposal is creative and engages the public, which is impossible. Creativity and public engagement are opposites. The more creative you are, the more out of step with median opinion. That's what being creative means.

The creative idea is any idea that differs from consensus. The more creative the idea, the more it differs from the consensus view. This also shows why creativity is related to madness because a mad idea is also an idea that differs from consensus.

This understanding has important implications for artists, as art is an industry driven by creativity. An artist must choose between a creative idea, which is unpopular, or a popular idea that is uncreative. People tend to need a degree of popularity to survive. There are many more uncreative artists successfully creating their mediocre, mainstream paintings, objects, designs, than genuinely creative artists.

One must also ask, what benefit does the supremely creative idea have, if it is unpopular with everyone? Of course, ideas and tastes change, and one important factor of art is in driving trends. Art creates new, unpopular, ideas, which become popular. This is why creativity is important, it is the embryo of the future. Change is inevitable, and the creative idea determines what things change into.

Errors and omissions frankly probable. This is one of several musings on life the universe and everything listed in the Writing and Essays section of www.marksheeky.com

Monday, October 09, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 41: Fruit

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 41: Fruit
Broadcast Monday 9 October 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Neil Mackensie.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Ian Parr, The Orange Tree with Intro
Lavinia Murray, My Song
Andrew Williams, Fruit Salad
Helen Kay, 1963 Apple
Mark Sheeky, And There Is Light
Stephen Pennell, Its A Trap
Claire Bassi, There Are Fruits
Lavinia Murray, The Plucky Scuffler
Rebecca Cherrington, Fruit
Lavinia Murray, Scuba Diving In Fruit Smoothies
Steven Goodwin, Fruit Midas
Andrew Williams, I Should Eat More Fruit

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, October 02, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 40: Underground

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 40: Underground
Broadcast Monday 2 October 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest John Royle.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Andrew Williams, War Of The Worms
Lavinia Murray, What I Found In The Ground
Steven Goodwin, From My Overground Pit
Stephen Pennell, Cellar
Mike Fuller, Winter Seascape
Rebecca Cherrington, Underground
Mark Sheeky, Underground
Lavinia Murray, Undergrounded

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cover Versions and Perfectionism

Music artists tend to get to an age when they record cover versions, and I always saw that as a sign of a lack of creativity. There is another trend that affects artists too, wanting to update past work. That is something I can relate to.

This applies to visual artists too. Gradually as you learn, you improve, get better, better, and suddenly reach a step, when you look back at your earlier work and think... I could have done that so much better now. Of course, it's difficult to repaint a work, the feeling would be lost, but in many craft areas, such as framing and presentation, it's all too tempting to want to remake something. My first Love Reliquary was very much a learning process; my first attempt at gilding and many other things, so last year I decided to remake it, build a second one. Not only did the second one take half the time, it looks twice as good.

The thing is, this can be a never ending task, so every choice must be weighed.

Now, I find myself unlucky enough to look back in horror at much of my old work and how I've presented it. I want to reframe, restore and neaten my old artwork, at least 300 of them! As you might expect, rather than being a fun task it's an obsessive perfectionist nightmare, but it must be done.

We can't always run ahead, sometimes we must pause, reassess, neaten, perfect what we have. Legacy isn't only an artists' last work, but a lifetime's worth

Monday, September 25, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 39: Tokyo

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 39: Tokyo
Broadcast Monday 25 September 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Andrew Williams, Tokyo
Mash Collective, Metamorphosis Jam
Trixi Field, A Flock Of Bath Mamas
Lavinia Murray, Tokyo
Robert Burgess, Tokyo
Lavinia Murray, Ode To Yoko Ono
Mike Fuller, Todmorden Paradise
Mark Sheeky, Shades of Tangerine and Pink
Rebecca Cherrington, Tokyo
Stephen Pennell, Merry Xmas Mr. Lawrence

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, September 18, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 38: Film Noir

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 38: Film Noir
Broadcast Monday 18 September 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Robert Burgess.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, The Big Sleep
Andrew Williams, The Maltese Falcon
Ian Parr, Brief Encounter
Mark Sheeky, The Lineage Of Patrick Hamilton
Lavinia Murray, Practical Arrangement
Stephen Pennell, White Heat
Helen Kay, Car Windows
Rebecca Cherrington, Film noir
Steven Goodwin, Film Noir
Mark Sheeky, The Dream Killers

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk