Thursday, September 30, 2010

Art is... Food?!

I was recently tasked with writing a new artist's statement. I always find it interesting, writing about my art. I've never been able to really boil it down into one concise... thing. Whenever somebody asks me what style art I make, I always say "mixed media" as a sort of cop-out. It's a cover-all term that describes my work but only to a certain extent. Regardless, I've decided to post my new artist's statement here for your reading pleasure.

"Art is more or less the exact same thing as, what else? Food. Take a dash from here, a pinch from there, throw it all together and let it simmer. I’ve always viewed my art as a good stew. I never realized before that this notion rings true for the entirety of the art world, as well. An artist creates his work, lets it cook until perfection, then serves it to old, crusty, demanding patrons. They may or may not get a tasting for the artist in question. If they do, the artist’s works become akin to hot cakes. It is consumed. If not, well, then… the art gets shit out and flushed away.
Through art, I want to create conversations. I am by no means a serious artist; I love nothing more than to tackle a serious, taboo subject matter and run in through the dirt. Great art has multiple layers to it. Take a serious issue, present in an outlandish manner, dip it in dark humor, cover it in a wrapper of artistic craftsmanship, throw in a pun or two for good measure, and you have my artistic process. Every idea should speak for itself. Good art may be 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration but the art I aim to create, the kind that has something to say, is just the opposite. Furthermore, I think as artists, most tend to get stuck in the idea of creating a style. I find this idea completely unaccommodating. If each of my works look completely different, then so be it. Like a good stew, I love combining painting with sculpture, photography with mixed media. Granted, bodies of work are important but if I have to work in the same vein for the entirety of my life, may God (in other words, Oprah) strike me down now.
                  I hope people take away different meanings from my work. I want to get in their heads, like a bad case of food poisoning. I want them to think long and hard about what they’ve seen, let it ruminate in their minds, then pray to God-Oprah to let their minds be at peace. Art doesn’t always have to be pretty. Art can be pugnacious, ridiculous, or even pointless, or even all three as well as being beautiful. Through my work, I want to change opinions and create new ones. I want people to take position on subjects they never realized they had a position on before."

Interestingly enough, while writing this, I found two older artist's statements that I had written. I decided to not read them because if anything in my process had changed, I didn't want to get any ideas in my head about keeping one, consistent style. After finishing my new statement, I did go back and read them. Surprisingly, I found certain threads that held true throughout all of them. Just for an interesting comparison, I've decided to post them here. The first is a short paragraph from April 2009, attempting to describe my artistic style in a short paragraph. The second is my artist's statement I wrote while in high school, back in late 2006.

"If I were tasked with the goal of finding one, cohesive blanket statement for my artistic “style,” I figure it would be a rather complex and difficult situation. When approaching a subject, each is usually very different from the prior. While I feel there are certain themes that I can always identify as underlying in each of my new projects, it may not be apparent to anyone else. Furthermore, I do not have any particular visual style; there are no particular cues that would denote a typical “Matthew Getter piece.” Rather, I have a certain mindset when beginning a new work. I believe that concept is equally important to execution. I can mull over a problem for hours before I even begin the actual creation. When I’ve gotten myself to a suitable point of readiness, I’ll often use anything, often everything, in the creation. Mixed media is fantastic; I believe all the arts should correlate to one another. I’m not averse to mixing photography with sculpture, painting with digital media, string, garbage bags, nature, a nice font, even a tire or two for good measure. In my eyes, I feel my visual style, if anything, is a hodge-podge of everything good and bad. For me, the most important part of a piece of work, ultimately, is the message. Out of all my finished works, this is the one similarity. I believe a piece should have some sort of concept behind it. Art should not only inspire emotion but also thought, conversation, controversy. Otherwise, it’s just meaningless eye candy for rich people to look at instead of a meaningful societal comment. If that’s the case, I may as well study law.

"To create art is to emit an unbridled emotion from the conscience of the viewer. Successful art should be able to produce an intense emotion, whether it be positive or negative. Artwork does not need to be beautiful or make one feel kind and tender. Some of the most evocative artwork forces the viewer to feel repulsed, shocked, or even offended. The creation of my artwork explores these angles, trying to develop methods to further such emotions.
         Through art, I attempt to elicit the most extreme emotion possible from my viewing audience. By using unorthodox means, I gain the advantage of having the curiosity of the viewer. Once attained, the artwork can effortlessly prove its point. This method defines my work. I am able to tackle issues such as human vices, constant change, and overindulgence through the use of such mediums as blood, tires, and tattered grandmother frocks.
Art has the inane ability to be beautiful, yet also be repugnant, ridiculous, or even pointless. By viewing my work, I hope that people will feel extremely disgusted or unusually disturbed rather than merely satisfied. Viewers must savor their utmost extreme feelings rather than settle for mediocre reactions. If a work can evoke such powerful emotions, it serves its designated purpose. Art does not have to fit the common perception associated with it."

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