Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy, Birch, Spurce and Cumulus, 2009, acrylic on Linen (source).

Greg Hardy, Island, 2009, (source)

I really like these landscapes- they're very dynamic and interesting as paintings. For some reason I tend to think of Landscapes as being very commercial- which they are of course- as people love to buy them, but 'commercial' can be quite the put down in the art world, well perhaps just in the academic art world (i.e. people who don't actually have to make a living off their art because they have the luxury of teaching art, a luxury they've worked hard for- but a luxury none-the-less). I don't see why there is the belief that one can't make commercial paintings that are appealing, that are really good paintings, and that are commercial.

It brings to mind other debates- about conceptual art- about art that is incomprehensible being deemed excellent- as though obscurity is the main goal. I think that's garbage- I think art should represent people, I think artists should try hard to be a voice of the 'masses'- to appeal to the 'everyman'-without compromising their artistic integrity. I think art that requires you to have a master's degree in order to get or like it is bad art.

But I also believe in the original- I believe people should have original paintings on their walls, not prints of original paintings- I wish people knew that a print is a technique- an art medium all it's own, not just a copy of a painting. I wish that it was impossible for Thomas Kinkaid to reproduce his works- so that people had to buy original art from local artists for their walls.

Having to produce my own work for sale has pushed me as an artist- I've been forced to make something that people will want to pay me for without compromising my own needs in creating.
It all makes me think of a conversation I had recently with my brother- about government funding for the arts, I was surprised to hear myself say it- as I've always just staunchly supported grants, but I think that if more artists are forced to live off their art sales, the best of them would find that sweet spot where art can be appreciated by both the public and the art world, where the word commercial isn't dirty.

That's not to say that grants don't have their place- or that all art should be simple stuff that you'd want to hang up in your living room- but just that we shouldn't stop ourselves from making or appreciating art just because it's commercial- as the above paintings show- sometimes a commercial work can feed your soul, and be lush, and complex and look fantastic in your living room.

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