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Archive for July 23rd, 2015

David Hockney- Mulholland Drive 1980

David Hockney- Mulholland Drive 1980

It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work.

 –David Hockney
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     When I first read this quote from artist David Hockney, a painter whose work I admire and find very interesting, I wanted to be offended.  After all, I am an artist who has said plenty about his work through the years– this blog and gallery talks being evidence of that– and have tried to be always transparent and forthcoming when talking about my work.  But even so, I nodded in agreement when I read his words.
     Part of my own desire to be honest and open about my work came from the frustration I felt in reading other artist’s writings that were filled with ArtSpeak, that way of seeming to say something important and meaningful without really saying anything at all.  The words danced around all form of meaning and never fully jibed with the images that accompanied the words, leaving me with a single word resonating in my mind.
     Bullshit.
     And I know bullshit.  I was a longtime bullshit artist.   I sold swimming pools and automobiles– yes, I was even a used car salesman!- to the public for quite some time.  I knew that you could sell by focusing on the strengths of the product and by dancing around questions about its drawbacks.  Fill any voids with words that sounded like they were filled with meaning but really made no commitment to anything.
     For me, there came a time when I was determined to not deal anymore in that manner of speaking and when I finally came to painting, I knew I didn’t want my work to fall into that pool of bullshit.  I wanted to tightly control how I represented my work and to be completely open about it.  It’s whole purpose for me was my own honest expression and I wanted people to be able to witness that without a filter of crap between them and the work.
     For the most part, I feel that I have been able to maintain that through these last several years.  Oh, occasionally I feel myself straying off the path but I simply remind myself that the product I am representing is the core of my self and once I cross that line I would be betraying everything art has provided for me.
    But these are just words and maybe you should take them with Hockney’s advice in mind.  If you want to judge for yourself, come to the Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery next Saturday, August 1, which begins at 1 PM.  Ask me anything and I promise you a straight answer.

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