Surrealism is the new Real

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas with Dan Brown

Meeting SO's family is always an interesting time. Especially around the holiday when it's extended family, cousins, SO's of those cousins, and more. While sipping my 2008 Monarch Vidal, I envisioned the family as it's own strain of DNA. All interconnected, you just need to figure out how to place the strands together to form a whole. Thankfully, this morning it's only 4 strands remaining in the household.

One of the family insisted on seeing my portfolio, having been informed that I am an artist. As usual it was passed from her to her daughter, then to other family members. It helps when people are drinking and therefore inclined to "oooh" and "aaah" a little louder than normal, thus attracting the attention of others. After she viewed my drawings and paintings, she asked me about a painting she possessed from the turn of the century, by an artist I had never heard of, Arthur Reid. Or maybe Freid. I admit, she was slurring a bit, and I was just tipsy enough that my memory now more than 12 hours later is failing me. She wanted an appraisal of the painting for it's potential worth.

We had a long and lively conversation about the lives of artists, and what kinds of things raise the worth of the art. Adversity, one-of-a-kind, or the last piece of a series... She listened happily and aptly for longer than I would have expected for someone with an apparently short attention span. (I guess when $$$ is involved, it's far more entertaining. I think under normal circumstances, she would have tuned me out about 5 minutes in.) We discussed possibilities, and if she's lucky, she'll remember one or two of the eight or nine options I had given her for discovering the worth of the painting. First and foremost, find other paintings by the same artist and how much they have been sold for in previous sales. 

What was entertaining for me was at the end of the "lesson" she said "You're just like that guy in those books..." (Narrows it down nicely, doesn't it?) "You know... the Da Vinci Code guy." "Ah," I replied, noting the coincidence that The Lost Symbol was perched in front of me on the coffee table, my bookmark nestled at page 131 at the time. "You mean Robert Langdon, from the book by Dan Brown?"

"Yeah! Him! You sound just like him with all that art history stuff. Did you go to school for this?"

The usual conversation and detail of my artistic schooling commenced, and I found myself amused by the comparison. Especially when she asked if I had been through any adventures like in the Da Vinci Code. I thought about relating a couple of tales, but in order for her to 1) understand and 2) enjoy it, they would have to be 1) dumbed down and 2) heavily embellished. (Though there was this one night in Scotland when I found my to my youth hostel by following landmarks I had spied on the way into town, and I did go by Rosslyn Chapel, but it was really nothing in comparison to finding the holy grail. I wish I had taken more pictures.) I often joke with several of my friends who have a healthy sense of skepticism and humour that when I grow up, I want to be a Symbologist, or perhaps an athletic archeologist with a nemesis and nazis who chase me around, who I can outwit with my knowledge of arcane things at the end of the adventure. Thankfully, they're smart enough to laugh.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cartharsis and old projects.

    As I mentioned, I tend to move around a lot. It's not always by intent, but it happens, and I've gotten used to the constant change and associated chaos. Some of my friends would say that I seem to thrive on change. (While I won't admit it, they are likely to be correct.) I prefer to think of it in this manner: "He had noticed that events were cowards: they didn't occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once." - Neil Gaiman, I believe from his book Anansi Boys.
    Moving around tends to create casualties when it comes to the artistic process and progress. Not just in the sense of frames breaking or glass shattering (though it does happen) but more in the sense of projects that were half-finished when the move arrived on my doorstep, and were packed away. Same goes for art supplies. I have a *ton* of different art supplies, that were purchased or gifts that I fully intended to use before a wave of cowardly events and a move got in the way. 3 moves ago I had several fashion & sewing projects underway. They're currently in a box, waiting for the end of this last move so I can re-open them like cold cases, and finish them. 2 moves ago I purchased a blank metroishka doll set with the intent of painting them in time for Christmas of last year. They too are hidden away, forgotten temporarily. 1 move ago I had begun another sewing project, along with a couple of illuminated scrolls to be gifts for this Christmas, and a birthday or two. Tucked away in my portfolio, they are unlikely to be brought out until the last minute, at which point I will spend several all-nighters painting and doing the calligraphy so I can finish it in time for the Christmas/Birthday parties.
     It's really not the intent of any artist to leave something unfinished. The problem is, paying projects or jobs always have to come first in order to survive (Unless you enjoy starving. I don't.) and things like sewing a new shirt or creating that masterpiece tend to get set aside. If you're lucky, you eventually find yourself able to find the time to get back to it and finish it. More often something else comes up in form of a flash of inspiration, and suddenly the new project takes on an urgency that leaves the old, half finished project on the dusty shelf.
    My goal for December 2009 is to find the myriad of boxes containing unfinished projects, and complete them by the end of the year, since my Christmas gifting projects are mostly finished for the year. Call it my end of the year resolution, before making a few New Year ones.
     It's not that artists have a hard time finishing projects (though I'm sure some do) it's more than events and things keep cropping up like obstacles in the path of a masterpiece.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Number One, Finally Begun

   Allow me to introduce myself. I am a professional artist, currently based in Burlington, Ontario. What kind of art? Well, that's a hard question to answer. Surrealism is my first love, though I tend to stray into many other arenas as well. I have very eclectic tastes in what I do, and a wide variety of artistic media that I have come to love over the years. I have mastered most 2 dimensional mediums, everything from pencils, paint, to computer generated design. I dabble in fashion design - much of my own clothing is made by my own hands, and about 50% of it is my design as well. 3 Dimensional design (ceramics, clay modelling, etc.) still seems to be the bane of my artistic existence, and I am content to leave it in the hands of artists who enjoy the medium more than I.
    I have spent the last 13 years travelling and living in different areas of the world. I spent a year in Northern Ireland studying the conflict, history and art of the area. I spent several years on the East Coast of the USA, and Washington DC, studying, painting, and experiencing new things from venomous snake bites to rock climbing. In 2007 I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, and went through treatment. Shortly after finishing chemo/radiation, I decided it was time to return to the land of my birth and start anew. I had been homesick for some time, and the time seemed right.
    Since then I have been moving around Ontario, looking for a place to call home until the next major change in life. Seems to be the common theme for me.
    I thrive on being busy, social, and finding the imagery and irony in the world around me. I think at times my life has been supernaturally designed to be not only ironic, but poetic, and it's my job to catch as much of the art as possible for all to see. There are times when I do not feel I draw for myself, but for others, especially when folks I have never met walk up to me, look at a drawing I did in 5 minutes and tell me it spoke to them, and they just *have* to have it. It was never for me.
     I don't know how often I will be posting to this blog, but I do know that I will make an effort to do this often. I invite anyone with insight or inspiration to comment, though I will be screening comments for content (spam). Just remember that art is always different for everyone. The artist and the beholder rarely ever agree.