Friday, January 21, 2011

Sketchbook Project

Images from my submission to the sketchbook project have been posted as a two part slideshow.

click here to take a look

Here are the cover and a few of my favourite pages:
(click on each image to see it bigger)

For more information about the sketchbook project
For more information about the Brooklyn Art Library

Monday, January 3, 2011

On My Way

Last week I found myself with a couple of free hours on Queen West. I was sent home early from my first job, at the café but still had to go in to my second job at the mall. With time to kill, but not enough time to go home I popped into one of my favourite Toronto stores - The Paper Place - and picked up a few things. I then camped out at Second Cup and made a few small pieces using the letterpressed recipe cards and paper dots I picked up (beautifully made by Drop Around letterpress). These pieces are going to be a direct inspiration for the larger, two dimensional pieces on paper I plan on starting for the independent study.

Two shots of the paper dots and washi tape I picked up last week.

And an idea for my second book project. My first series of books is still in progress, but I'm thinking of ideas for the second one. For Christmas I bought someone a set of 45's that came in this great box. Each record is stacked in its own crisp sleeve and tucked into a neat square box. I've seen artist books presents as loose pages in a box before, and I like the idea. Aesthetic and conceptual planning aside, I have a feeling that this is how I'll be presenting my second book.

The next step is, of course, to submit my project to galleries to show all of this work together. The nice thing about graduating art school is that you end up with friends who work at galleries and art magazines. I'll be sending proposals within the next few days.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

An Opposing View - some thoughts

Over the last few years, as I have shaped my opinions on art and the forces behind the work I make I have come to the conclusion that for me, art is for art's sake. To expand, I have tried to work against that general understanding that works of art must contain a social or political standpoint, an opinion, or some message. Even the bio and statement on my website mention this opposition of mine. This point of view has never really been challenged by anyone before - but I think people are either just too nice, or that we live in a post-post modern world where no one feels the need to challenge artists' statements.
I read an article about a month ago which I am revisiting for this post that challenges my perspective. The article was written by Meredith Tax and is called Culture is not Neutral, Whom Does it Serve? It was originally presented in 1969 and I found it in a book of collected essays called Radical Perspectives in the Arts.

Tax begins by presenting her thesis: that culture is not politically neutral and that it is impossible for it to be so. Cultural products, like any other products created by humans, are directly related to their social, political, and economical origins. She continues that in the arts, even omissions of political statements are still political - an argument which I've heard before and that, which I oppose in theory, have never been able to argue successfully.
She then goes on to discuss the problem with "art for art's sake" (which is my bread and butter) saying that this philosophy is relatively new, and was invented to satisfy a market. Previous to our time, art was created for a clearly defined reason - the demands of religious conventions or the specific needs of a patron. Only in the capitalist system does the art itself dictate the market rather than the other way around. According to Tax, the recent breakdown of the line between "high" and "low" art is also partly responsible for the acceptance of the "art for art's sake" philosophy.

Tax wrote this article in a time that is ideologically different from ours (or at least mine, as a student of post-post modern contemporary art where anything goes and Piss Christ is passé). Simply as an artifact, it was interesting to read an article where rock and roll is discussed as a new artistic form. It was great to read an article that challenged me to think about why I do what I do.

Baxandall, Lee, editor. Radical Perspectives in the Arts. Pelican Books, Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England. 1972.