Sj7g09's Blog

Am I an “artist”?

Posted on: December 8, 2010

I’ll just start typing and see what happens. I’ll have to try to be more well-behaved than usual though, in case I do decide to give out a link to this site to my school. Not that that will really do anything, considering all the things I say in every other post on my blog, but still. May as well just write it honestly and edit it later.

I had a tutorial today. They’re often the sort of thing that make me think maybe it’s time to pack it all in and not bother any more. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps it’s just that I’m really that bad at what I do that anything could tip me over the edge into deciding to give it up. One of the most frustrating things about tutorials at my school, obviously not just limited to this specific one, is how often you will be told to do things that you’ve already done. Most often, this is telling you to write things down and cite your influences and write about your context as an art practitioner. Last year was worse, because I was writing constantly and no one would read it. I gave out the link to my blog to a number of staff members who proceeded to never, ever look at my blog, despite them saying every single week that they just hadn’t got round to it yet, but they promise they absolutely will. I got one member of staff to see my blog, but only because I took in my laptop in an assessment to force them to look at it – so obviously they couldnt read any of it, they just saw that there was lots of writing on it and some pictures. Funnily enough, I’ve been told this year by that same person that I should have kept up with using my blog because it was really effective. Last year my assessment told me that it was inaccessible to my target audience, so I was discouraged and partially stopped using it.

So when being told today to make sure I had things about context in my work, I was pretty annoyed at the assumption that I dont do this anyway, and said that I write lots, but I write less than last year seeing as I wrote constantly and no one cared and no one was interested and no one read it and they just all asked where the pictures were. It’s encouraging to have someone then ask me to email them some writing so they can read it, although I can’t help but think that it’s partly just to save face. All the staff at my school seem to do pretty much the same thing – I offhandly complain that one of their colleagues has said something or done something unprofessional, and they say that it didn’t happen, and then reconsider and say that it probably did happen, but for the right reasons. So to me, this just feels like an active way of doing that. I think I’ve earned the right to be wary of them.

Anyway, what came out of the ‘discussion’ was that perhaps I’m not suited to doing art at all. My work is ideological, I should do something ideological with it. Politics, sociology, academia, writing, ideology of representation, do one of those instead. Or work within the narrow frame of what art is – poetic, transforming something into something else.

I’m willing to tell my blog, although perhaps not if I give this link to this person, that I mostly do not understand what this person is saying. I never really understand what I’m being asked, or being told, just because of the words used. That’s not to say that I don’t understand the words, more that I don’t understand the specific meaning of the words within this conversation. Words take on infinite meanings when there’s a real person actually saying them – what the word means to me may be totally different to how the person intended it, and so I don’t like to really say anything, partly because I fear I’m going to be told I’m wrong. Not just wrong about understanding the words or the questions or the sentences, but wrong for what I think. Like, I’m not all that certain on what constitutes ‘art’ for this particular tutor, but I don’t feel that I necessarily agree with it because it seems so very, very narrow. Plus, why should his view of what art is dictate how I see art, and my own place within creating art, or not, as the case seems to be from his perspective? He isn’t the authority on this, and nor am I. He’s not wrong about what he’s saying, but equally he’s not right either. His views can’t be wrong, but they aren’t universal truth. I could say that I believe that art can be anything, and there may be theories that disagree with me, and people may try to prove differently and try to say that some things would fall under different, better placed headings, but, in my world view and semantics, the definition of art wouldnt necessarily have to change.

I don’t know what ‘art’ is. I don’t really understand what makes something art or not art, but does it really matter when this is just a theory that can never be truth? If I think that creating images with text on them like a charity advert is art, why shouldnt it be? I don’t see how it can really be better placed. It’s not advertising, and is there a term for a visual piece that’s ideology rather than ‘poetic’ that isnt art? Why should art need to be poetic anyway? I can’t stand poetic art, I’d much prefer something that’s to the point, or at least that can be analysed. I like there to be a right answer, even if there are lots of competing ‘right’ answers.

I feel like I’m being put under too much pressure to decide what I want to do. This course has always come across as quite vocational, although fuck knows what all the people on my course think they’re going to do with this qualification – I have the suspicion there aren’t that many ‘artist’ vacancies available. I don’t want to be an artist, I don’t want to be a designer, I don’t want to do advertising, I don’t want to teach, I don’t want to go into some boring obscure job that I haven’t even heard of yet. I’m not sure if the job I want really exists. I want to be able to create things, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be part of my job. I was thinking a few days ago about how lucky I am to have been encouraged in art, because it means that I get to think about things all the time, and, when I so choose, create a visual representation of the ideas. It’s nice to have that time to reflect and create something that solidifies the thoughts, and I hadn’t really considered that people who don’t create art don’t partake in this particular pleasure. Anyway, the thing that I really want to do is learn, and try to get my views across. I’ll concede that art is turning out to be a terrible way of doing that. I can go on all I want about art being a great way to transmit ideology, but high art really isn’t, because no one wants you to say anything. You’re allowed to talk about big things, so long as you dont actually talk about them, you just paint an ambiguous picture or something and then allow the viewers to make up their own mind. As I’ve mentioned before I think, with the subjects I work on, I dont feel that this is enough, because when people have been persuaded by the media and government to believe in falsehoods to do with things like the sex industry, showing someone a picture of an ambiguous thing to do with the sex industry will never be ambiguous because of all the connotations from the media and government that are linked to it. Creating something ‘ambiguous’, I think, has less space for people to think than creating something that intends to be provocative and one-sided. At least people might see the statements on my images and feel angry that they’re being told what to think.

I see films as probably the most effective way of getting across an ideological view. They’re accessible, and can transmit a message, potentially without the viewer even realising it. With traditional art, there’s the framing that you’re going to a gallery to learn, put on your sensible thinking hats, please, everybody. With a film, it’s surface purpose is entertainment – most people don’t view films to learn, but it’s something that can come about unintentionally. I think that films must be just about the most effective way of transmitting an idea, otherwise they wouldn’t get banned. The BBFC wouldn’t be so frightened of letting adults view whatever they want if they didn’t think that these films had the potential to change peoples’ views. So maybe I want to make films. I don’t have the skills or the knowledge or the equipment to actually make films, but I’d still like to try. Nor do I actually think that the things I produced would be really worthy of exposure, but that’s not really the issue. I think I’m expecting to be able to do unrealistic things – by being told that my work isn’t transmitting anything (my bedframe piece leaves no space for the viewer because it’s put together with sellotape), I’ve believed that I’m failing. I may not be able to get my views across to everyone, that’s impossible, but it’s nice to see that my blog has now had 34,000 views. Even if a lot of those were mistakes, or just looking for something specific, or whatever, at least some people might be interested in what I’m saying, and maybe that isn’t nothing.

Besides, I’m a young, female student who opposes government policy (just read about the government furor with Professor David Nutt, and you’ll recognise that the government policy on having advisors that disasgree with government policy isn’t especially tolerant), who has things on the internet that taint her credibility – I’m pretty much exempt from being able to work in anything to do with politics or the government. If the Lib Dems have to actively defend their choice to allow a female ex-porn director to be a candidate for them, and justify why she should be allowed to take any part in politics, I think I’m pretty much fucked. The school seemed worried for me last year, just mentioning anything to do with pornography on my blog, because it might mean that I’m linked to the ideas forever. But if the stigma wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be an issue, so why should I think and act and live according to ideas that I don’t believe in, just so I’m definitely not punished for it later?

The only things I can do are from the outside, if I can do anything at all. Either that, or reinvent myself, wait until someone at the BBFC finally dies, and try to take their job by being the most conservative, militant moralist that I can be, and end up becoming what I hate in the process. You can’t change things from the inside – once you’re on the inside it’s too late, unfortunately, or at least that’s how it seems.

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  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se
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