October 10, 2014
I’ll be honest, I struggle with 50 year old faeces being Art, but…
‘That one. That is my Favourite!’ Said the gangly, unco-ordinated but very enthusiastic 7 year old me, pointing to Turner’s Fisherman at Sea, answering my mother’s question as we reached the gift shop at the gallery. Quite a dark choice when I think about now, a nocturnal scene with a small fishing vessel lit only by a lantern being tossed about a writhing squall. I thought then, and still do now, that this was a hugely atmospheric piece and it really captured my imagination. It felt filmic, but in in some ways more real, conveying the emotions undoubtedly felt by the crew of the doomed vessel.
It provoked an emotional response – a phrase that has been used by many as clarification on what should actually be considered art. Being that this can include messy Beds, mutilated cows carcasses, or 50 year old faeces in a can (yes really), you might struggle with the distinction between inspired work of genius, or misguided outputs of an absinthe-addled mind.
There will always be the argument for technical ability over high concept but that doesn’t change the fact that some of the works we like the most may not be analytically impressive or complex – we just like the way they make us feel.
Art can be completely subjective but should be accessible to all. This was drummed in to me at an early age, both my Mother and Grandfather were established artists in their own right, meaning art was always around our home, very much the everyday, the norm, not something locked away in galleries, but something that enriched our lives on a daily basis.
Although art has always been heavily commoditised, from fine art being purchased over phone at prestigious auctions by very wealthy collectors, to wise investors taking a gamble on up and coming talent online etc, I hope that that spirit of art as an emotional medium, of connection between artist and ‘consumer’ is never lost.
My Grandfather, of who it could be said led quite a bohemian life, once told me a story about when he had first moved to Spain (with very little capital) to try and build a life as a working artist in a more conducive creative environment. The subtext of this I now read as indulging in the trappings of an expat Mediterranean lifestyle fuelling his creative juices with well…creative juices.
Finding himself in a local Taverna he walked to the bar and after picking up one of the paper napkins he asked the owner if he had a pen. The owner looked on sceptically as my grandfather proceeded to scribble fervently, raising his eyebrows as he tried to see what was beginning to take shape. After 5 minutes or so my grandfather smiled and passed the napkin to the owner, who, after squinting quizzically for a few seconds, reared backwards into barrel laughter. Calling over to one of the waiters to come and see he found a tac and secured the napkin firmly to the wall. It is worth mentioning now that my grandfather started his life as a satirical cartoonist for a newspaper in South Africa and had always been a gifted caricaturist. I never saw the picture on the napkin but the owner had been so impressed he offered my grandfather a free meal and they established a friendship from that moment on. The point being, for all his wonderful quirks, my grandfather lived and breathed art, it was a living entity that he shared with friends he knew and strangers he didn’t.
Art, as much as we can be blown away by the incredible skill and technical ability of many pieces, should always be enjoyed and be part of our everyday.
This is the first feature article on Galleryfy.com and it felt right to start at this point. On Galleryfy.com you will find work from some of the best current artists in the UK, curated to showcase the best of their work, part of a select few at any one time rather than thousands of Artists and thousands of artworks. Find the work that is perfect for you and perfect for your home. Come home to Art.
Christian Floyd, Founder of galleryfy.com