Let me show you my best painting secret!
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landscape by David Hockney
What do you make that gives you real satisfaction? Something that is pure, unselfish and a joy to do? We all have something and it is that which we can fall back on and be content in the knowledge that we have done something of value. Take a moment to think about this folks because we are entering a new world and we will need to keep our focus or risk spinning out of control. What am I talking about? It's called The Cloud and its going to get stormy.
I have been reading Cloud Surfing by Thomas M. Koulopoulos. If you are up to speed with tech developments then you wil know that the cloud is the ephemeral world of computer connectivity that is going to make the present internet seem old school. Call it iternet 2.Oh! The reality is that hyperlinks will make way for an all pervasive connectedness. Like brain neurons do everything together to keep the gajillion processes in our body going at the same time - well the new connectivity aims for that and Koulopoulos reckons it will take ten years for it all to come to pass. Probably less.
Exciting? Scary? Yes to both. How is this relevant to art? We have already seen a significant David Hockney exhibition this year where some the art was created on his ipad. An example is shown above. Whether you like it or not is by the by. Fact is it happens to be art and created by a senior citizen. No disrespect intended - I think Hockney is one of the modern greats. But he has shown that new tech can be used to create art and you do not have to be fourteen years old to do it either (it may help though).
So what are we to do? Trade our brushes in for more bytes? Sell our pets for more bandwidth? Hardly. I am heartened by the belief that an artist's greatest strength is his self-reliance.
It is self-reliance that will see us through all changes because an artist is not fooled by the fashion and whims of society. An artist seeks truth. Contrary to what the X-files would have us believe, the truth is not out there - it is within us.
The Cloud? - bring it on! I have a sneaky suspicion that we will all still need to keep in touch with the truth, our very humanity requires it. For artists the challenge is to see through the hype and create true value. Collectors will appreciate art that is tangible and real when all else seems to be smoke and mirrors.
I am not an old duffer either. I like technology and gadgets like any overgrown boy. But I can honestly say that using oil paints and brushes similar to those that old masters used a few hundred years ago really does it for me. Is art still going to be relevant in the future? To my mind it will be essential. Yes you can have giant digital images on your walls. But go and stand in front of an oil painting done in a painterly style. Notice the brush strokes? The texture of the paint? Why did the artist make that mark there or use that shade of colour? Why do you feel compelled to look and even to touch? There is a communication here that is not generated with motherboards but rather with mother nature. Cavemen knew it and we know it now. Truth is all we have. The world will still need artists. Consider an article by Jeff Goins on this topic.
I read an article in the current Fortune magazine (don't ask) about a book written by the founder of Patagonia clothing, Yvon Chouinard. In the book The Responsible Company Chouinard contends that "we must move toward a post-consumerist economy" where goods are high quality, recyclable and repairable. He puts it well when he says that today "most of what we produce to sell each other is crap".
It seems that we will always need to get our hands on things of lasting quality and value. I am thankful that art will remain one of them.