To Be An Artist; To Be Subversive

A writer once said, “If what you’re writing isn’t pissing someone off, what’s the point?”

I’ve always remembered that.

What are we doing that’s moving the needle? Making people think? What is it about the work we do that’s worth other people spending their time looking at it?

I remember going with a friend to a bunch of homes on an artist tour in my town, and many of the artists were painters making simple pretty landscapes, the kind that are decoration but not challenging in the least.

There were more of the same, and again and again. Imagine a pretty watercolor. Scenery.

A colorful flower. A boat on a lake. A mountain scene. Pretty.

Oh, so pretty. But boring.

Then we went to the last studio and there was an artist that had painted people without necks or mouths. A whole series of these portraits of people with truncated faces. My friend commented that this was the worst art of the bunch. I said it’s the only one we’ll be talking about in a year, and remember. Because it’s challenging.

That was 9 years ago now. And I still remember that artists’ work. And he does, too.

What are we making that will be remembered? That has lasting value?

It’s probably not that sunset.

3 thoughts on “To Be An Artist; To Be Subversive

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  1. Great call to the endless discussion about what ART is and why we are never stopping changing and continuing our adventure. I agree about the fluffy and pretty photographs of the moment when I even dont try to turn on my camera. These fluffy moments are not why i take one of my cameras (film or digital or often both) with me everywhere

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