Here we see half of my stand, and my strange self-portrait cube things which dangled between the two halves are missing too, so this will have to do.
I spent a large amount of this exhibition reading a rather rambling book called Art and Fear.
It remains to be seen whether or not my observations on this blog prove more worthwhile than those in Art and Fear, but in the end it's far from a competition and it's a fine little book in the end for what it does.
And what it does is address that undeniable difference between art / artists and the rest of the world's occupations / people.
You can read the book yourselves to find out more, but basically it says that art is unlike other callings. They're talking about art which has no road map, I should add, not creative activities where you follow a formula, like making a thousand pairs of identical twisted wire earrings. Here we're talking about unique pieces of which there will never be another quite the same, and that's the whole point.
This is the danger of art. We're not supposed to copy. At least, not in the end. We're supposed to find our own path, our own special way and, eventually, our own reality. Which, by definition, should be neither like anything which has gone before, nor comparable to anything because of its very uniqueness. Not easy.
The point is you can be influenced by other styles, of course; this is inevitable and important in the development of your skills, both as an artist and a technician. Trying out different styles is like putting new tools in your toolbox. The trick lies in eventually becoming so comfortable with them that you can then combine them transparently in new ways never seen before. And call them your own.
I've been struggling with this idea of uniqueness and originality for quite some time now. Firstly, wondering to what extent it really is necessary and, secondly, where I am on the path towards it. I've read recently that you've really arrived when someone can instantly recognise one of your works just by looking at it. But to be so tied to one style - is that what I want really? Won't that feel hopelessly constricting? And how easy or difficult will it be to do?
Does finding your own unique style involve developing a certain type of brush stroke? Or always including a black square and a red circle somewhere in your pictures? Or even committing to painting on a 3x3 grid of interchangeable square canvases as I do? Have I honestly found my style with my 3x3 grids or is this a nonsense and I actually have no personal style at all. Where is the boundary between the paint and its support? If someone always paints on bark, or old car doors, or surf boards, isn't that an inherent part of their style? And valid?